Web site compares cost of health care

| August 31, 2009

Need a colonscopy and want to compare prices?  Much like you can compare prices for other goods and services, if you plan on getting those from a Minnesota health care facility, you can see what it costs across the state. 

A colooscopy will run you $924 in Duluth compared with $426 in St. Cloud. 

This is interesting on several fronts.  The least of which is comparing actual cost with price, reimbursement and start evaluating the cost/quality factor which is a major topic (or should be) facing health care reform. 

Go to mnhealthscores.org and click on "cost reports" in the upper right corner.

"Minnesotans are the first in the nation to be able to comparison shop for health care providers using both quality and cost at a single website," Gov. Tim Pawlenty said. The goal, Pawlenty says, is to hold down costs while improving quality through "market-driven, patient-centered and quality-focused" competition.

The price of bananas is readily available at grocery stores. But comparisons of health prices represent "fundamental change in health care," Pawlenty said. Picking an alternate health provider might even pay the cost of a road trip.

For example, a thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) blood test costs $112 at Olmsted Medical Center in Rochester and $99 through Mayo Health System, but only $35 at Winona Clinic.

The Web site also shows whether you're getting the best care. For example, "the best care for diabetes" includes an emphasis on blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar control, not smoking and, for those older than 40, taking a daily aspirin.

Category: Advocacy, General Healthcare News

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