Surgery study finds costs vary greatly by region |

Surgery study finds costs vary greatly by region

David Olinger
The Denver Post
Surrounded by his surgical team, Dr. Charlie Yang, second from left, proceeds with the hip replacement surgery for patient Joseph Abeyta. Everyone on the team has donated their services for Operation Walk USA. Porter Adventist Hospital and their orthopedic surgeons opened their first day of joint replacement surgeries as a participating hospital for Operation Walk USA. Operation Walk USA is an independent medical humanitarian organization that provides free hip or knee replacement surgeries to needy patients in the U.S. The surgeries are provided for those who do not qualify for government assistance programs and cannot afford surgery on their own. Porter is one of 70 hospitals participating and the organization estimates that about 230 patients will receive free joint replacements nationwide.
Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler / The Denver Post | THE DENVER POST

The combined cost of two common surgeries — knee and hip replacement — is twice as high in northeast Colorado as in Denver and Colorado Springs, according to a new study that puts numbers to the state’s rural health cost problem.

The Center for Improving Value in Health Care used data supplied by health insurance providers on the two procedures and found stunning variations by region of the state.

The price of the surgeries averages $78,000 for insured people in an eight-county northeast region that stretches from Larimer and Weld counties to the Kansas border, the center reported. The mountain region, which consists of 15 counties bisecting the middle of the state, had the second highest cost at $69,000.

By contrast, the cost averaged $39,000 in a nine-county Denver region and $41,000 in a three-county area that includes Colorado Springs. Still, the results were not crystal clear. Costs in southeast Colorado, also rural, were not nearly as high as the northeast.

The full text of this story can be found here at The Denver Post website.

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