Hospital Surgery Prices Vary Widely

The Sacramento Bee
Cynthia H. Craft

A group of public-interest researchers took on the veiled, confounding world of hospital pricing Thursday in a report that questioned why a common surgery cost $40,000 at one hospital in the Sacramento region and $17,000 at another.

Pressing for more transparency in hospital pricing, the study by the California Public Interest Research Group, a consumer watchdog organization, spotlighted wide disparities in the cost of surgeries statewide.

Among its findings, the study showed that the Sacramento region's price tag for common surgeries ran higher – 111 percent of the state's median.

As health care costs continue to escalate, the study's results offer a glimpse into the erratic and hurly-burly nature of hospital pricing, said its authors. They also underscore the need to get medical spending under control if overall health care costs are to drop as envisioned by the federal health care overhaul.


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