Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore has added its voice to the chorus decrying excessive costs for patients visiting hospital emergency rooms for episodic care. What’s more, new data it just revealed indicates the odds of getting overcharged are greater if you’re a minority or uninsured. Researchers considered the billing records for more than 12,000 U.S. hospital-based emergency physicians, finding that on average adult patients in the ED are charged 340% more than what Medicare allows for its members. Mark-ups were highest in for-profit hospitals in the southeast and Midwest—especially those that serve higher populations of uninsured, African-American, and Hispanic populations. By comparison, the study found that internists charge around half as much as ED physicians. As you know, urgent care centers also charge a fraction of the cost for a typical ED visit, and can most often accommodate patients far more quickly than primary care practices.
New Data Reaffirm ED Overcharging—and ‘Disparities’ in Healthcare