Try digitalPLUS for 10 days for only $0.99

Picture of Health

Health Picture of Health

Colonoscopies cheaper in Baltimore than other parts of the country

The New York Times looked at the varying costs of a colonoscopy at hospitals around the country to illustrate how simple medical procedures are driving up health care costs.

The story that ran over the weekend found that the costs of medical procedures in the United States are often higher than in other developing countries and varies widely from hospital to hospital.

Baltimore has some of the lowest rates for colonoscopies, according to one New York Times chart. The most someone will pay for a colonoscopy in the city is $1,908. In comparison, New York patients can pay as much as $8,577.

The article said the high prices paid doesn't mean a patient is getting better care. Instead the costs result mostly "from business plans seeking to maximize revenue; haggling between hospitals and insurers that have no relation to the actual costs of performing the procedure; and lobbying, marketing and turf battles among specialists that increase patient fees," the article said.

The story didn't address Baltimore prices specifically. But the reason is likely because of a unique agreement the state has with the federal government, where a state commission sets hospital rates, or what the facilities charge insurers. This allows for less volatility in prices.

Charges may still differ among Maryland hospitals because the state allows some institutions, such as Johns Hopkins and other teaching facilities, to charge more.

The New York Times report comes nearly a month after the federal government released the first ever data detailing what hospitals charge the Medicare program. The report also found prices vary widely.


Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Health Professionals on the Move archive

    Health Professionals on the Move archive

    Readers submit photos and information on medical professionals who have recently been promoted, hired or honored. Select photos will be published in the Health and Medicine section of Sunday's edition of The Baltimore Sun. Caption size is limited and only photos are accepted in this feature. Submit...

  • Celebrities battling illnesses

    Celebrities battling illnesses

    When celebrities announce that they have an illness or disease they often raise awareness about the condition.

  • Ask the expert

    Ask the expert

    Health professionals in Maryland answer questions related to their field.

  • GBMC's top baby names for 2014

    GBMC's top baby names for 2014

    Among the 4,000 infants born at the Towson hospital in 2014, these were the most popular names for boys and girls.

  • Health-care workers improve their craft — through literature

    Health-care workers improve their craft — through literature

    Like all good registered nurses, Kristin Kraus keeps up with the latest in technological developments, so when a terminal older patient entered her operating room one night, she was as ready as ever with the required monitors and meds.

  • Diagnosing and treating sciatica

    Diagnosing and treating sciatica

    Anyone suffering from sciatica can say that the pain can be intense, from the back all the way down the leg. Those who are overweight, smoke, don't exercise or even wear high heels can make the pain worse. And while exercising can keep you fit, it can also lead to nerve pain. But episodes generally...