Primary Listings

Back Pain (MedlinePlus)

MedlinePlus site for Back Pain provides links to resources for back pain (backache). Information on imaging tests for back pain, effect of opioid medications and taking narcotics, how to avoid addiction to pain killers, spinal fusion, minimally invasive spinal surgery, back surgery, back pain at work (by Mayo Clinic), links to videos; more

Blue Distinction Centers: Cardiac, Cancer, Hip, Knee, Fertility, Maternity, Spine, Bariatric Surgery, Organ Transplants, Gene Therapy

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies have designated national Blue Distinction Centers meeting their standards and selection criteria for bariatric weight loss surgery, cardiac (heart) care, fertility care, organ transplants (e.g. adult and pediatric bone marrow/stem cell, heart, lung, liver, pancreas (adult only) transplants, total knee and hip replacement, cancer care, maternity care, spine surgery, cellular immunotherapy, and gene therapy for ocular disorders. Quality criteria can be found from the home page. Substance Use Treatment and Recovery distinction to launch Jan. 1, 2020. In addition to Blue Distinction Centers, the Blue Distinction+ (Plus) designates high quality centers that also consider cost of care. (No further information is available on prices.) Interactive database; updated 2019

Knee replacement, Hip replacement, Spinal fusion: Cost, Age, Survival (pdf)

Interesting but old report. Statistical Brief #34 by AHRQ shows national estimated average hospital cost for knee arthroplasty (knee replacement) was $13,200 in 2004 dollars; hip replacement average cost = $14,500, and spinal fusion was $19,600 excluding physician fees. Overall average age for orthopedic inpatient procedures was age 60, but spinal fusion much younger (age 52), and knee replacement (age 66), & hip replacement (age 70) were much higher. Average length of stay (ALOS), survival rates (percent died in hospital) and trends since 1997 also shown. Released July 2007, using 2004 and 2005 data. Medical inflation since 2004 is about 58%.

Low Back Pain Exercise Guide

Prepared by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Easy to follow, with simple colorful drawings of exercises. Reviewed 2017

Options to Manage Chronic Low-Back Pain

List of non-surgical alternatives to alleviate back pain, along with a statement of how good the evidence is to prove that the treatment works. Guidelines by the American College of Physicians and American Pain Society for NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Updated 2015

Spinal Stenosis – Symptoms, Treatment Summary

General overview of spinal stenosis – what is it, who gets it, symptoms, treatment (surgery and nonsurgical) and more. By the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), part of NIH

See Also Consumer Health Ratings – Average Costs & Prices – Compare Hospital Charges Editor's Pick

See our main category on Costs to see how specific hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers or clinics COMPARE on average prices or charges for many surgeries, hospitalizations, procedures and outpatient tests. The LEARN MORE listings show general average costs in your region if available

See also Consumer Health Ratings – Ratings, Report Cards and Credentials – Compare Quality Editor's Pick

See our main page for public reporting of quality ratings and comparisons for individual hospitals, nursing homes, health insurance plans, and other health care services. Check your physician’s credentials and doctor’s license in this category

Other Helpful Listings

20 Most Expensive Conditions Requiring Hospital Stay, 2013 (pdf)

The top 10 of 20 most expensive conditions that people get hospitalized for are led by Septicemia, osteoarthritis, liveborn infants, complication of device, implant or graft; heart attack (AMI), congestive heart failure (CHF), back problems, pneumonia, coronary atherosclerosis and acute cerebrovascular disease. The full list identifies 20 health conditions that cost the nation the most in hospital charges in 2013. The top 10 represented nearly half (48%) of the total national hospital bill. For Medicaid patients, mood disorders, schizophrenia and previous C-section were in the top 10. For the uninsured, diabetes with complications was the 4th most expensive condition. 15-page Statistical Brief #204 by AHRQ uses 2013 HCUP data; published May 2016

Ambulatory Surgery Average Charges in U.S. Hospitals, 2007

Find average prices for about 80 outpatient ambulatory surgery procedures done in hospitals in 2007 (excluding surgeon’s or other physician fees.) Average colonoscopy & biopsy price then was $2369; upper GI endoscopy $3131; cataract & lens was $4870; tonsillectomy $5286; knee cartilage $7357; hernia repair $8187; outpatient gallbladder removal (cholecystectomy) $10,838; breast biopsy $3863; lumpectomy $7458; ear tube surgery (myringotomy) $3547; D&C $6366; arthroscopy $8970; incontinence procedures $9929; vericose veins $8459; bunionectomy $7699; wrist fracture $7807; $4770 for circumcision. Consumers will need to adjust the 2007 prices to estimate 2019 costs; add at least 40% for a rough estimate. Overall average was $6100, compared to nearly $40,000 for inpatient surgery. AHRQ Statistical Brief #86 published February 2010 unfortunately still has not been updated. No longer Editor’s Pick

Arkansas Hospital Volumes, Prices, Quality Ratings – by name of hospital

Find average charges (a proxy for average costs) for 40 common hospitalizations at specific AR hospitals by Clicking on INPATIENT PRICING after you’ve selected your hospital. Price List varies by hospital, but may include maternity and childbirth, stroke, chest pain, stomach disorders, back pain, nutritional problems (diabetes), blood infection (septicemia), rehabilitation, heart attack, cardiac cath, drug coated stent, congestive heart failure, kidney failure, urinary infection, COPD, pneumonia, total hip or knee replacement surgery, hysterectomy, psychiatric care, ventilator support and more. Note: Definitions conflict for whether data such as Volumes are Medicare-only, or reflect all patients. To find quality scores on emergency department, heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, COPD, stroke, delivery or surgical infections, and patient opinions, click on QUALITY at each hospital’s page. Hospital Consumer Assist is provided by the Arkansas Hospital Association. Prices from 2016; Quality and Patient Satisfaction scores reflect 2017 ratings

Average Cost of Common Hospital Stays (HCUP)

Learn about the average cost for common hospital stays, by diagnosis. Average cost per stay for all diagnoses was $10,000 in 2011 (about $12,300 in 2019 dollars).  Report shows 20 conditions with the highest total inpatient costs in 2011. Includes newborn baby ($3300), septicemia ($18,600), osteoarthritis ($15,400), coronary atherosclerosis ($17,200), acute myocardial infarction (heart attack, $18,900), congestive heart failure ($10,900), pneumonia ($9500), stroke ($14,000), COPD ($7800, physical rehab ($13,100), diabetes with complications ($9600), hip fracture ($15,400), mood disorders ($15,400) and more. These numbers are estimated costs, NOT prices. Add about 23% for cost inflation. Prices will be more. Statistical Brief #168 from Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, AHRQ Dec. 2013. No updates available yet.

Back Problems: ER Visits and Average Cost of Hospital Stay (AHRQ)

Statistical Brief #105 shows average estimated cost of a hospital stay for back problems was over $14,000 in 2008 for a 2-day stay (primary diagnosis), or $11,000 for an average 4.3 day length of stay, if the back problem was just one of other diagnoses for admission. Actual charges would have been higher. Average age for an Emergency Dept. visit for a back problem was 44. Report by AHRQ (respected federal gov’t. agency), 2011. Using simple medical inflation rate, a cost of $14,000 in 2008 would be close to $19,000 in 2019. Charges could easily be 3 to 4 times higher, or $76,000.

CareChex America’s Top Quality Hospitals 2019

Lists of top 10% hospitals in specialties such as bariatric surgery, cancer care, cardiac surgery, inpatient gall bladder surgery, GI care, general surgery, hip fractures, hip or knee joint replacement, organ transplants, spinal fusion, stroke care, and more. Top hospitals listed by nation, state or region.Categories include Medical Excellence, Patient Safety and Patient Satisfaction. Consumers can choose Medical Excellence results for Overall Surgical Care only. 2019 report covers Medicare claims data and HCAHPS patient satisfaction from 2014 to 2016, or in some cases to 2017. Announcing award-winning hospitals may require a license fee to be paid. CareChex is a division of Quantros, a for-profit software solutions company, which appears to be a competitor to HealthGrades

Colorado 2018 Hospital Charges and 2017 Insurance Payments

Find average 2018 cost across CO for more than 50 types of hospitalizations. Click on View Reimbursement by Diagnosis or Insurance Provider to see average total charge in 2017, and what the insurance company reimbursement was. While the patient’s responsibility is not shown, we appreciate the transparency between prices and amounts paid. Example: Major joint replacement without complications priced at $78,874 had an average insurance payment of $26,588, or about 1/3 of the charges. Uncomplicated delivery was priced at $16,500 in 2017 (17,545 in 2018), with insurance companies paying $7347 in 2017. Similar for newborns – $5171 average price, insurance paid $2341. Insurance company payments appeared to go down in 2017, while charges went up. Consumers are also able to see actual hospital prices (Click View Hospital Charges, then select year 2018 and procedure). Example: Average 2018 price for major joint replacement at hospitals that performed at least 100 procedures, ranged from $13,941 in Meeker (Pioneers Medical Center), to $131,513 at Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree (nearly 10 times higher; midrange 208 price across hospitals was about $79,000.  Physician charges are not included. Published by the State Department of Regulatory Agencies, Division of Insurance, and Colorado Hospital Association. Updated 2019.

Hospital Ratings at HealthGrades (all states) 2019

Hospital Ratings (5-star, 3-star, 1-star) for over 30 diseases & inpatient procedures: Stroke, back surgery, COPD, diabetes, gall bladder surgery, bowel obstruction, GI Bleed, hip fracture repair, hip replacement, total knee replacement, prostate removal, TURP, hysterectomy (listed under gynecologic surgeries), respiratory failure, pneumonia, cardiac bypass, heart attack, heart failure, angioplasty, defibrillator, pacemaker, valve surgery, sepsis, pancreatitis, pulmonary embolism, abdominal aneurysm, stomach surgery, peripheral vascular bypass & more. Probably Medicare-only data for most conditions, although some states provide maternity, appendectomy, and bariatric surgery (gastric bypass) data. More extensive list than the federal government’s site. Publicly-traded company. Most data in 2019 ratings are from Medicare patients, from 2015 to 2017. Patient satisfaction ratings (2017 data) are featured by HealthGrades. One hospital at time, unfortunately. No longer Editor’s Pick, since HealthGrades removed the 3-year patient volume, and actual mortality or complication rates compared to predicted. Mostly, the site shows which ratings awards were given to the hospital by HealthGrades – a fee likely was required for publicizing the award.

Iowa Hospital Inpatient Charges Compare

Iowa Hospital Charges Compare provides information about volumes and average 2018 charges (amount billed) and median charge at IA hospitals. This site is for consumers who want to find the average cost of surgery or other inpatient services. Select one hospital to begin. Site allows 4 hospitals to be compared at one time for prices, length of stay, number of cases and more. Must select city first, then body system before finding the procedure. Provided by the Iowa Hospital Association, this is a starting point for comparing average cost of care between Iowa hospitals. Compare typical prices for surgery such as gall bladder removal, bowel surgery, knee joint replacement; childbirth and newborns, pneumonia, stroke, heart care, transplants, COPD,rehab, and many medical conditions. Severity of illness can be specified. Limited focus to one service and category at a time. Average cost (and median charges) across the state are also shown for each procedure.

Louisiana Hospital Ratings and Prices – LA Hospital Inform

Find range of charges (low price and high price) for Medicare patients at Louisiana hospitals, both inpatient and outpatient. Hospital-specific inpatient charges do not include childbirth or C-section, since it’s Medicare only. Find hip or knee surgery prices, gall bladder removal, psychiatric admission, rehab, heart problems, stent, stomach problems, stroke, GI hemorrhage, kidney failure, COPD, pneumonia, diabetes, bowel surgery, more; outpatient Medicare prices include ER visits, heart tests such as cardiac cath, EKG, heart imaging, valve repair; CAT scan or CT angiography, GI endoscopy, more. Quality scores and volumes (which cover all patients), are similar to those at HospitalCompare, but may be less current (2017). LA Hospital Inform is sponsored by the Louisiana Hospital Association; Price ranges from 2017 (outpatient and inpatient)

Medicare Ambulatory Surgery Allowed Costs – 25 Commonly Performed Procedures

See this file for 25 procedure payments by Medicare and what they considered the Allowed Amount. This file shows average amounts Medicare paid to Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) facilities for selected outpatient surgery such as spinal injection (example: CPT code 62311 Medicare allowed $377, and paid $297), knee arthroscopy (CPT 29881 $1631 allowed), prostate needle biopsy (CPT code 55700 $670 average allowable cost; $530 average cost paid), simple cataract removal & lens insertion ($1679 allowed; Medicare paid $1339), bunion correction ($1825 allowed), crushing kidney stones ($2330 allowed), large bowel endoscopy ($586 allowed, plus $671 for removal of polyps), and more. Includes physician fees and payment to the ASC. Confusing file unless you know CPT codes and can use Excel files. Actual prices or charges are not shown. This is the best of what’s out there nationally, with state average charges. Old 2012 data published Sept. 2013

Minnesota – Hospital Price Check (Inpatient & Outpatient)

Hospital-specific prices (charges) for all inpatient hospitalizations (described in medical terms) and top 25 same-day surgery procedures in MN. Find average and median inpatient cost (before discounts) and volume for newborns and child birth delivery, pneumonia, chest pain, COPD, hip or knee replacement, appendectomy, cellulitis, hysterectomy, rehab, other surgeries & many more. Outpatient prices for biopsies, cataracts, colonoscopy, ear tubes, gallbladder (cholecystectomy), hernia repair, arthroscopy, tonsillectomy, upper GI endoscopy, hysteroscopy, carpal tunnel and other same-day surgery. Compare 3 hospitals, one procedure at a time; excludes doctor charges; by Minnesota Hospital Association, 2017 prices and volumes of cases

Missouri Hospital Prices and Quality for Inpatient and ER – Compare Hospitals Editor's Pick

Click on Find a Hospital, then Pricing Data to find the price (median charge) for common inpatient medical conditions and surgeries at Missouri (MO) hospitals. Range of charges, average length of stay, and number of cases per year shown. Childbirth, maternity, mental health, hip and knee surgery, heart care, etc. Must know the general body system (such as musculoskeletal) in order to search inpatient prices. Emergency department (ER Emergency Room) base prices are separately shown by level. In Missouri, more than half of the ER visits were at the highest possible levels 4 and 5 (high severity). Median charges for Level 4 were $3538 and for Level 5 the median price was $6498, Oct. 2017 to Sept. 2018 data. Level 3 (moderate severity & moderately complex case) median charge was $1409. Prices shown for 2017-2018. Hospital Quality data for 2018 also shown at this site. Compare hospitals on infections, readmissions, falls, and other patient safety results. Editor’s Pick for putting all of this information in one place and timely reporting on quality. Published by Missouri Hospital Association

Montana Hospital Outpatient Surgery and Test Costs

Compare MT hospital charges for ambulatory surgery and diagnostic tests such as colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, breast biopsy, cardiac stress tests, cardiac catheterization. All prices EXCLUDE surgeon fees and other physician costs. PricePoint system shows facility prices in the past, for common surgical procedures such as tonsillectomy, cataracts, ear tubes, knee cartilage, bunions (median $5483, $2000 more for big toe), child’s appendix removal, carpal tunnel, skin lesions, upper GI endoscopy; x ray, CT, MRI and other radiology imaging prices listed; 2015 costs

Rehabilitation Hospitals – CARF-Accredited Facilities

Find rehabilitation hospitals that are accredited by CARF – The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. CARF offers the ability to do an online search for accredited facilities with specific rehab programs you may be interested in. Includes Behavioral Health, Pain Management, Brain Injury, Spinal Cord, Physical Rehab, Aging services, and more. Search engine is either simple (just zip code) or very complicated because of its detail, abbreviations and multiple choices

South Dakota Charges for Inpatient Hospital Stays – 2017

Find out and compare SD hospitals on 2017 average charges, or median (typical) price. After you select one hospital, you can see the average charge in all of South Dakota (e.g. avg $5077 for normal newborn, or $3905 median. Vaginal delivery for mom was $10,736 average price, and $9868 median. C-section average cost $23,518.) All common hospitalizations shown, such as births and maternity delivery, knee replacement (average price about $47,000), heart failure, pneumonia, bowel procedures, COPD, angioplasty, kidney transplants (median $247,637), inpatient laparoscopic gallbladder removal (average price $48,000, but $50k to $55k avg. in Sioux Falls) and much more. Also shows volume and length of stay. PricePoint site sponsored by SDAHO (hospital association)

Surgeon Scorecard – Knees, Hips, Gallbladder, Spinal Fusion, Prostate Surgery, Medicare 2015

Compare individual surgeons’ complication rates (risk-adjusted) for Medicare patients having one of 8 types of inpatient surgery: hip or knee replacement, laparoscopic gallbladder removal, cervical (neck) or lumbar spinal fusion (either posterior or anterior technique), and prostate resection or removal. Analysis by ProPublica looked at billing records from 2009 to 2013. Numbers of cases shown are MEDICARE-ONLY (although the column title omits that point), and require at least 20 cases for a doctor’s rate to be shown. Physician’s rate combines his/her Medicare cases at all hospitals. Website was somewhat controversial in 2015. Tool is easy to use; data have not been updated

Texas PricePoint – Compare Hospital Inpatient Charges (Prices)

Average charge for a joint replacement in Texas was reported to be about $79.000 in 2017. A cesarean section without major complications averaged nearly $26,000, not counting the baby’s care. If you are looking for average cost of hospital care or surgery, the prices at this PricePoint site by the Texas Hospital Association will give you an idea of what to expect on your hospital bill. Information for one hospital at a time (no side-by-side comparisons) for maternity, childbirth, newborn, c-section; hip or knee replacement (look up Joint), fracture repair; hysterectomy, pneumonia, COPD, bronchitis, asthma; heart failure, chest pain, cardiac cath, bypass, stent, heart transplant; mental health, psychiatric hospitalization, depression; alcohol rehab; bowel surgery; back problems including spinal fusion and more. Volumes at each hospital are shown. Uses abbreviated medical terms instead of lay language; for example: “Uterine & adnexa proc” instead of hysterectomy. Does not include surgeon or other physician fees.

Utah HMO and PPO Health Insurance Plan 2018 Ratings

Compare Utah HMOs and PPOs – health insurance plans Aetna, Altius, Cigna, Deseret, Educators Mutual EMI, Humana, PEHP, Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield, SelectHealth, United Health Care, and Medicaid plans (Health Choice, Healthy U, Molina, SelectHealth CHIP) on member satisfaction, antidepressant medications, back pain, cancer screening, and high blood pressure; diabetes, prenatal & maternity, preventive care, well-child visits & immunizations, and more. Shows actual performance rates. 2018 Performance Report published by utah.gov uses 2017 data

Utah Inpatient Hospital Charges, 2016 – Utah PricePoint

Utah provides average charges (price) statewide, and on a hospital-specific basis for many common inpatient stays, such as pneumonia, stroke, appendectomy, hip and knee procedures, gall bladder surgery, hysterectomy, heart failure, heart attack, chest pain, coronary bypass, heart valve procedures, vaginal and cesarean deliveries, newborn births, chemotherapy, psychoses, alcohol or drug abuse, rehabilitation, back and neck procedures, digestive disorders, abdominal surgery, nutritional/metabolic problems, transplants and much more. To find psych (mental health, bipolar, schizophrenia) admission costs, for example, you will need to click on LOOKUP. Volumes (2016 data) and length of stay are included; does not include average cost for physicians. Consumers may adjust for 2019 costs by adding 3-year price inflation (at least 6% more). As with other PricePoint Systems, view one UT hospital at a time. Utah Hospital Association

Vermont – Hospital Outpatient Surgery Prices, 2017 (pdf)

What does ambulatory surgery cost in in Vermont? See Section called Pricing, Charges by Hospital. Table 2A lets you compare average gross charge (the closest you will get to average cost) for most common outpatient surgical procedures at 14 general hospitals in VT. Prices for procedures such as cataract surgery (average $6074), upper GI endoscopy ($5420), knee cartilage surgery ($9520 average), arthrocentesis joint aspiration ($700), gall bladder removal (average $13,484), breast biopsy (avg. $4213), other biopsies, ear tubes (average $3530), tonsillectomy ($6948), pacemaker ($9254), bunion removal (12,114 avg), colonoscopy $3694 average; range $1575 at Northwestern Medical Center to $5169 at North Country Hospital; hernia repair $12,000; excision of skin lesion $2417; fetal monitoring cost $784; circumcision cost $4239; outpatient hysterectomy $21,995; peritoneal dialysis ($10,575), and many more procedures. 12-month avg. charges ending Sept. 30, 2017, DO NOT include the surgeon or other physician fees. As with all of Vermont’s reports, the font size is about as small as you can get. About two years old, published 2019. Table 2B shows how many of those procedures the hospital did.

Vermont – Inpatient Hospital Average Prices, 2017 (pdf)

2019 Hospital Report Card shows average prices (gross charges) for each VT hospital’s most frequent inpatient admissions – includes newborn delivery (normal newborn $3093; newborn with medical problems = $4946, but close to $22,000 if the baby had major problems), cesarean section ($17,000 to $20,000), average cost for vaginal delivery $9365 without complications; pneumonia; total hip or knee replacement (average $41,171), depression  (average $16,853), psychoses such as schizophrenia (average $32,775), COPD & emphysema, heart failure, chest pain, rehabilitation, heart rhythm problems, back problems, Spinal fusion about $63,400; kidney or urinary tract infection, and other hospital stays. Compare costs on nearly 60 different types of cases, listed by MS-DRG. Links to hospital discount policies for consumers with cost concerns (see Financial Assistance); 2016-2017 average charges published May 2019

Wisconsin – Ambulatory Surgery Facility Charges, 2017

How much does outpatient surgery cost in WI?  Find average 2017 charges in Wisconsin for 20 common ambulatory surgery procedures, such as Colonoscopy (6 codes), Endoscopy, Biopsy, Spinal Injection, Cataract & Lens ($7353 hospital average), outpatient Knee surgery/arthroscopy ($11,285), Carpal Tunnel ($6463), Ear Tubes, and more. Volumes for each hospital and surgical center are shown for top 20 only. Go to Table 28 in Chapter VI for a longer list of 40 procedures including colonoscopy & biopsy, code 45380 ($5155 average) and gall bladder removal (laparoscopic cholecystectomy at $17,429). Chapter VII compares average prices (along with median charge and volume) at each hospital for twenty 2017 ambulatory surgeries. Prices do NOT include surgeon and physician fees, which may cost thousands of dollars and could double prices shown. Consumers should add medical inflation to estimate 2019 facility prices. Scroll to bottom of page for Chapters VI and VII Ambulatory Surgery, published by WHA Information Center July 2018.

Wisconsin Hospitals PricePoint (Average Inpatient Prices)

Median charge and length of stay for common hospitalizations including maternity and newborn births, hip or knee replacement surgery, gallbladder removal, heart surgery, angioplasty, arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), valves, cardiac cath, pacemaker, pneumonia, bipolar and other mental health, stroke, back care, asthma, COPD, rehab; kidney, heart, lung or other transplant; hysterectomy, prostate surgery, bowel surgery & more. Also shows inpatient volumes if you click on more detail. From WHA Information Center, part of the Wisconsin Hospital Association WHA Information Center. Surgeon fees NOT included, nor are dates shown. Compare hospitals by city (anywhere in the state by adding cities). Wisc. Hospital Assn. created the PricePoint System now used in other states. This version of Pricepoint has been modified to be payer-specific, although gross charges (sticker price) should be the same for all patients. Must watch a video before proceeding to see the prices; you may also need specific medical information about the procedure in order to select the price you are interested in.

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