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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

For-Profit Hospitals Mark Up Prices Because There’s Nothing to Stop Them

Using 2012 data provided by 4,483 hospitals to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Bai and Anderson found that those 50 had an average markup of 1,013 percent over what Medicare pays for the thousands of items on hospitals’ “chargemasters.” (Chargemasters are lists of all the items and services hospitals bill for. Hospitals set their own charges. Few states set any limits on what hospitals can charge.) That’s almost three times the average markup at the other 4,433 hospitals. The average markup for all those other hospitals—most of them nonprofits—was 340 percent.

Of those high-markup 50, more than a fourth of them are owned and operated by Nashville-based Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). But with 14 hospitals on the list, HCA was just in second place. A full half of the top 50 are owned by HCA’s biggest rival, Community Health Systems, a Franklin, Tennessee company that operates 199 hospitals in 29 states. More here. Truthout

FYI: Community Health Systems owns Deaconess Hospital in Spokane.

H/t Sam Crawford

Modern surprise: hospital gift shops

My Sunday story was about the updated image of hospital gift shops. So if you're visiting someone at the hospital and forgot a gift, duck in. You might be surprised what gift shops now sell.

From the story:

Many retail stores are ailing in these tough times. But the gift shops at Providence Sacred Heart and Deaconess Hospital enjoy healthy revenues, thanks to changing trends in retail and health care and the buy-local movement.

(S-R photo by Colin Mulvany)

INW: Caught In Hospital Politics

Three-year-old Hudson Kramer kisses his 6-month-old little sister Lily, as his mother Brandy Kramer holds Lily’s twin sister Dahlia at their home in Coeur d’Alene on Wednesday, Dec. 8. The babies were born premature and Dahlia needed surgery. The family became caught in a hospital dispute that has split a surgical group in Spokane. SR story by John Stucke here. (SR photo by Kathy Plonka)