The most expensive hospital in America is not set amid the swaying palm trees of Beverly Hills or the luxury townhouses of New York’s Upper East Side.
It is in a faded blue-collar town 11 miles from Midtown Manhattan.
Based on the bills it submits to Medicare, the Bayonne Medical Center charged the highest amounts in the country for nearly one-quarter of the most common hospital treatments, according to a New York Times analysis of 2011 data, the most recent available. No other hospital was at the top of the price list more often.
Bayonne Medical typically charged $99,689 for treating each case of chronic lung disease, five times as much as other hospitals and 17 times as much as Medicare paid in reimbursement. The hospital also charged on average of $120,040 to treat transient ischemia, a type of small stroke that has no lasting effect. That was six times the national average and 24 times what Medicare paid.
For those prices, the quality of care at Bayonne Medical is no better — or worse — than that at most other New Jersey hospitals.
The back story is this:
Bayonne Medical, which was founded in 1888, was losing nearly $1.5 million a month before it filed for bankruptcy in 2007. By 2011, under new ownership and a new financial model [sic], its patient revenue had nearly tripled and its operating income had reached $9.3 million, according to the American Hospital Directory, a publication that compiles data from Medicare and other sources about health care facilities.
Here is one commentary:
“Their model is to charge exorbitant rates, particularly for emergency room services, and if the insurance companies don’t pay them, they threaten to go after the member for the balance of billing,” said Carl King, head of national networks for Aetna, whose in-network contract was also ended by Bayonne in 2008.
You can read more here, interesting throughout.