Hospital Costs Get An X-Ray (NHPR)

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NHPRDr. James Weinstein, president and CEO of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock health system, discusses a recent national study of how much hospitals charge on New Hampshire Public Radio’s morning call-in show, The Exchange.

The study, which showed large disparities among different facilities for the same procedures, is welcome, said Weinstein, who also holds appointments at the Geisel School of Medicine.

“We’ve designed a system that doesn’t work,” he said. The numbers “allow people, for the first time, an inside look at the real problem.”

It’s a subject Weinstein and his colleagues at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice know well. For two decades they have studied variations in how medical resources are distributed and used in the United States in the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care project.

“We need to have transparency and we need to know the outcomes,” Weinstein told the NHPR audience. “I hope what this (study) will do is create questions, and create accountability for the system. We’ve got a lot of work to do here.”

Listen to the entire show, recorded on 5/22/13 by NHPR.