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Colorado hospitals charge insured patients significantly more than five other jurisdictions, survey finds

Data provider predicts $141 million savings could be found for inpatient, outpatient, professional services and pharmaceuticals

Christopher N. Osher / The Denver Post
An operating room at St. Anthony North Campus in Westminster.
Denver Post file

Colorado hospitals charge their insured patients significantly more for inpatient and outpatient care than hospitals in five other jurisdictions studied, a report released on Thursday found.

The analysis reviewed health care costs in Colorado, Minnesota, Utah, Oregon, Maryland and St. Louis. It found the price of inpatient care at Colorado hospitals in 2016 was 31 percent higher than the average for the six jurisdictions reviewed. The cost of outpatient care in Colorado that year was 15 percent higher than the average for all the jurisdictions.

The study was conducted by the Portland, Maine-based Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement.

“This year’s report shows that Colorado still has some significant cost-savings opportunities related to the price of health care services in our state,” said Ana English, the president and CEO of the Colorado-based Center for Improving Value in Health Care, a nonprofit that provided Colorado claims data for the study. “Many efforts are underway in Colorado to curb health care costs, and this new data shows that we need to accelerate those efforts in certain areas in order to make health care affordable for Coloradans.”

All of the jurisdictions analyzed for the study had robust regional health care collaborative entities in place with access to claims data. Those entities volunteered to participate. Since the inception of the project in 2013, 12 additional regions have agreed to contribute data for studies that were more limited in geographic scope, according to participants. The study released Thursday adjusted for differences in the underlying health status of the populations surveyed.

Read the full story on The Denver Post website, click here.


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