Out of pocket X-ray, CT scan costs vary widely

May 16, 2016 | | Say something

Out of pocket X-ray, CT scan costs vary widely ;

(HealthDay) -The price out of pocket by a normal chest x-ray, CT scan or ultrasound can vary by hundreds of dollars, depending on where the imaging is done, new research reveals.

And uninsured patients seeking to obtain the upfront cost may face an uphill battle, researchers warn, with slower hospitals to respond autonomous centers imaging.

How slow? Calls to six hospitals and five centers of private images in the Philadelphia region received responses from half of the hospitals within five to 10 minutes, the researchers said. But a third of hospitals took between 10 and 15 minutes, while the rest took even longer.

Although none of the centers of independent images took more than 10 minutes to provide information on costs radiology (and calls were not transferred), almost 10 percent of the ignored two questions of patients hospitals conducted in during three days, the results showed.

“The lack of price transparency certainly is not isolated in the field of radiology alone,” said study co-author Dr. Mindy Licurse, a resident of diagnostic radiology with the University of Pennsylvania Health System. For example, an analysis of 2014 incentives Care Health Improvement Institute in Connecticut and catalyst for payment reform in California revealed that most states have no laws making cost information available health for consumers.

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“Our study certainly contributes to the underlying hypothesis that pricing information within the health care, imaging specifically in this case, it may be difficult to obtain depending on the setting, and therefore the comparison-shopping patients is limited, “he added.

Licurse and study co-author Dr. William Boonn were scheduled to present their findings Sunday in Washington, DC, at a meeting of the American College of Radiology (ACR). Research presented at meetings are usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

The researchers focused on three examinations are arranged commonly called dual view chest radiographs; CT scans of the abdomen / pelvis with contrast; and pelvic ultrasound.

Through hospitals and imaging centers in three states, X-ray costs vary from a minimum of $ 41 to a maximum of $ 285. TC costs $ 437 was $ 2.239, while ultrasounds were $ 150 to $ 592, the study found.

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pricing Hospital, when provided, was consistently higher for all procedures, the study found. For example, the average price in the hospital for an X-ray was $ 140, compared with $ 76 on an imaging center. Similarly, average prices computed tomography and ultrasound were $ 1,146 and $ 442, respectively, in hospitals, compared with $ 586 and $ 263, respectively, in independent facilities.

Licurse said the solution to the problem of price transparency “is unlikely [that] simple.”

“health care Fight costs has, of course, has been a growing focus among politicians, as well as consumers,” she said. But, “is the transparency of prices is likely that only a small part of the solution, of which the impact is debatable.”

Still, Licurse said, price transparency could contribute to the containment of healthcare costs “through improved cost consciousness among doctors and consumers of patients, which can lead to a lower prices in order to remain competitive. ”

Other schools of thought have it warned that the consumer can go shopping, however, lead to decreased quality of examinations to account for the lower prices, he added. The trick is to find “the right balance” suggested Licurse.

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This concern was echoed by Dr. Geraldine McGinty, a radiologist with images Weill Cornell New York Presbyterian in New York City. She is also president of the American College of Radiology economy committee.

“Price transparency is a laudable goal,” she said. “However, it is important that our patients have tools to help understand the possible differences in quality.”

suggested McGinty own ACR accreditation programs are a good resource for pricing and quality radiology.

“We must, however, our patients do not jump through hoops and have to make several calls to get an answer,” he added. “The patient-centered care should involve a quick response to questions, not only about billing.

“Part of what our patients feel confident about the care you receive is included to be able to answer questions about billing in an efficient and open manner,” he said.

This article was originally published on medicalxpress, Read the original article

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