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A cross-sectional analysis of variation in charges and prices across California for percutaneous coronary intervention

  • Author(s): Hsia, RY
  • Antwi, YA
  • Weber, E
  • Nath, JB
  • et al.
Abstract

Background: Though past studies have shown wide variation in aggregate hospital price indices and specific procedures, few have documented or explained such variation for distinct and common episodes of care. Objectives: We sought to examine the variability in charges for percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) with a drugeluting stent and without major complications (MS-DRG-247), and determine whether hospital and market characteristics influenced these charges. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of adults admitted to California hospitals in 2011 for MS-DRG-247 using patient discharge data from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. We used a two-part linear regression model to first estimate hospital-specific charges adjusted for patient characteristics, and then examine whether the between-hospital variation in those estimated charges was explained by hospital and market characteristics. Results: Adjusted charges for the average California patient admitted for uncomplicated PCI ranged from $22,047 to $165,386 (median: $88,350) depending on which hospital the patient visited. Hospitals in areas with the highest cost of living, those in rural areas, and those with more Medicare patients had higher charges, while government-owned hospitals charged less. Overall, our model explained 43% of the variation in adjusted charges. Estimated discounted prices paid by private insurers ranged from $3,421 to $80,903 (median: $28,571). Conclusions: Charges and estimated discounted prices vary widely between hospitals for the average California patient undergoing PCI without major complications, a common and relatively homogeneous episode of care. Though observable hospital characteristics account for some of this variation, the majority remains unexplained. © 2014 Hsia et al.

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