I called each facility, and here are the prices I was quoted for a pelvic ultrasound:
–Mass. General: $2847 or $2563 (more on this later)
–Mt. Auburn: $971.96
–Diagnostic Ultrasound Associates: $516
All three quotes were for the imaging only and did not include professional services or other additional costs, I was told.
So, is it just me, or is a five-fold difference in price for the same procedure at three greater Boston facilities kind of shocking?
I called MGH back to make sure I heard right. Weirdly, on Wednesday, the ultrasound price was $2,847, but on Thursday it was $2,563. (Do I hear $2,000?) I called the hospital’s PR office for a comment on why it costs so much more. Here’s the statement they sent me from Sally Mason Boemer, Senior Vice President of Finance: “MGH typically benchmarks our gross charges with like institutions and find our charge levels to be consistent with other urban medical centers that have a significant amount of complex care, teaching and research missions, and a high uncompensated care burden.”
Paul Levy is a former large hospital CEO and now, an advocate for patient-centered, efficient care. He writes at Not Running a Hospital.