For AHCJ members: Comparison tool for hospital Medicare charges

Jeff Porter

About Jeff Porter

Jeff Porter is the director of education for AHCJ and plays a lead role in planning conferences, workshops and other training events. He also leads the organization's data collection and data instruction efforts.

downloading-and-uploading-data-iconAHCJ just updated its version of Medicare inpatient charge data covering hospitals across the United States.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has updated its data, showing what hospitals charge Medicare for the same treatment or procedure. Government data files include bills submitted by 3,500 hospitals for the 100 most commonly performed inpatient treatments in federal fiscal years 2011 through 2014. This allows a basis for some local or regional comparisons and a starting point for stories on hospital costs and services.

AHCJ has gone one step further to help members compare hospitals from one year to the next by combining the files to include the hospital name, the diagnoses and procedures and the amount paid to the hospital. The file covers only inpatient charges. The top 100 treatments can differ between years, so a reporter might also see patterns in numbers of treatments included or excluded in the latest year.

In addition to comparing costs, reporters can see if local hospitals have increased or decreased the treatment of specific conditions. Those changes might indicate changes in local physician population, changes in community needs, opening or closing of hospitals’ services, or even hospital marketing efforts.

You can find the AHCJ-prepared file, plus a rundown on each column’s definition, by clicking here. The page includes links to documentation to help you understand and use the data.

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