Kathryn Thomsen

Q Corp Compares Cost of Care at the Local, National Level

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Q Corp’s Cost of Care methodology has progressed from a pilot to national study, revealing Oregon’s resource use for healthcare services is low but has some of the highest prices – 17 percentage above average - compared to four other states. Q Corp is now working on Cost of Care for the Medicare Fee For Service populations, with the Medicaid segment soon to follow.

A method to assess Cost of Care for commercially insured Oregonians has been successfully tested and implemented with Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation (Q Corp).

Costs Saved in Patient-Centered Primary Care Home Program

Results of a two-year study, conducted by Portland State University, revealed an excellent prognosis for the Patient-Centered Primary Care Home (PCPCH) program.

The study found that total patient service expenditures decreased by 4.2 percent per person or approximately $41 per quarter (about $13.50 per person each month) between 2012 and 2014.

Patient-Centered Primary Care Home Program is Deemed a Transformative and Cost-Saving Success

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Oregon’s Patient-Centered Primary Care Home (PCPCH) program encouraged more use of primary care (rather than more costly specialty care services) saving patients an estimated total of $240 million in medical expenses between 2012 and 2014.

Results of a two-year study are in, and the prognosis is good news for the Patient-Centered Primary Care Home (PCPCH) program.

Hospitals and Imaging Centers Reveal Wide Price Variations for CT Scans

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Patient charges for abdomen and pelvis CT scans at Oregon hospitals are as much as three times more than at imaging centers within the same region. Dramatic price differences are also found both between facility types and within the same location.

Shocked by the high price of a CT scan at St. Luke’s Hospital in Boise, a patient called around to local imaging centers and discovered that the rates were considerably less for the same procedure.

Spike in Hospital Pharmacy Charges for Major Joint Replacements

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Half of Oregon’s hospitals increased daily pharmacy charges for major joint replacements by 10 percent or more between 2014 and 2015. A third of these hospitals hiked daily pharmacy charges for this common inpatient procedure between 20 to 109 percent during the same time period.

Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland topped the charts, doubling its daily pharmacy patient charges for Major Joint Replacement and Reattachment (MS-DRG 470) procedures between 2014 and 2015.

Oregon’s Ambulatory Surgery Centers Reveal Large Cost Variations

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Geographic regions may be responsible for some of these variations, according to Chris Skagen, JD MELP, executive director of the Oregon Ambulatory Surgery Center Association.

The cost of common outpatient surgeries performed at ambulatory surgery centers in Oregon vary dramatically – in some cases a range of three to six times higher than the lowest cost for the procedure.

Lifesaving Opioid Overdose Antidote Drug, Naloxone, Continues Upward Pricing Spiral

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Oregon hospitals join ranks contributing to naloxone price hikes while lawmakers scrutinize drug company no-holds-barred pricing strategies. Nearly 60 percent of Oregon’s hospitals have recently increased prices of naloxone – an opioid overdose antidote drug – by more than 10 percent. Five of these hospitals hiked the price of the drug ranging from 100 to 300 percent in 2014 compared to the previous year.

A lifesaving opioid overdose antidote used effectively for substance abuse - Naloxone Hydrochloride - has skyrocketed in the past couple years, worrying state health advocates across the U.S. with Oregon among them.

Cost of Head and Brain CT Scans at Hospitals Through the Roof

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The cost of a head or brain CT scan performed at one of Oregon’s hospitals tops the charts at $2,162 – nearly double the $1,130 average price. This compares to the $275 average price of the service at a testing center, and $148 at a doctors office.

Hospital Pricing Specialists compared patient claims data for head and brain CT scans (CPT 70450) at Oregon’s hospitals, doctor’s offices, and testing centers finding some extreme contrasts.

Oregon Ranks Among Highest in Healthcare Costs

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Out of 162 basic medical services analyzed in a national study, Oregon ranked near the top for high costs with only seven states more expensive. Oregon scored 34 percent above the national average for a majority of basic healthcare services performed.

In a recent study titled: Prices for Common Medical Services Vary Substantially Among the Commercially Insured, David Newman, executive director of the Health Care Cost Institute, along with several other authors compared costs of basic medical services across the country (looking at commercial h

Hospital X-Ray Costs Sky-High Compared to Physician Offices

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The median costs for chest x-rays conducted at Oregon hospitals were four times as high as those performed at physician’s offices with the highest cost difference tipping the scale at 22 times more expensive.

Hospital Pricing Specialists recently completed a national study analyzing the costs of more than 18.7 million chest x-ray claims across the country, and found prices in hospitals were in many cases 3-10 times more expensive than those performed in physician office settings.

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