Wis. hospital bills vary widely; mirrors US trend

CREATED May. 8, 2013

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MILWAUKEE (AP) -- New government figures show that hospitals within the same city sometimes charge thousands of dollars more for the same treatment.

The national and Wisconsin data released Wednesday show for example, that someone being treated for heart failure and shock with complications could be charged about $14,000 at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare in Franklin.

But for that same treatment at Columbia St. Mary Hospital in Milwaukee, about 15 miles away, the average charge is more than $22,000.

For major joint replacement in southern Wisconsin, patients could be charged $25,000 at Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital in Prairie du Sac, or $64,000 at Beloit Memorial Hospital.

Jonathan Blum is with the government's Center for Medicare. He says he hopes the cost information will help clarify the riddles of hospital pricing, and put pressure on more expensive hospitals.

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Online:
Government data on how much hospitals charge: http://go.cms.gov/18unjpP