Bellin Health Reports Price Decrease for Its Hospitals
Bellin Health has decreased its charges at Bellin Hospital in Green Bay and Bellin Health Oconto Hospital, effective Oct. 1, 2016. The price decrease was reported to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, which tracks price changes at the state’s hospitals.
“We’re pleased to report we reduced our overall prices by 4.3 percent. It is monumental,” said Jim Dietsche, executive vice president and chief financial officer. “This was not an across-the-board price cut. We had to search out opportunities for cost savings, which we then passed along to consumers.”
Bellin reduced its charges for diagnostic imaging, along with significant decreases in the charges for drugs during hospitalization.
“MRIs, CTs, ultrasounds and x-rays are common and often paid for out-of-pocket, so the decrease is a great value to offer to consumers,” Dietsche said. “In addition, pharmaceutical prices have spiked in recent years, so we implemented a standard markup for the drugs administered during a hospital stay.”
The markup is based on what Bellin pays manufacturers for a drug, rather than adding the complexity of labor, carrying costs and other factors into the price. “In other words, an aspirin is going to cost you five cents at Bellin,” Dietsche added.
No other Green Bay hospital has decreased its prices since WHA began tracking price changes at hospitals across the state in 2004.
Hospitals are required to publicly report increases. Bellin had the lowest annual price increase of any Green Bay hospital in 9 of the 11 years from 2005 to 2015.
The health system has also gained national recognition for its cost savings efforts. In 2012, Bellin, through its Bellin-ThedaCare Healthcare Partners collaboration, was among 32 organizations nationwide to be selected to participate in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) program, generating $14 million in savings and ranking number one for quality over its three years of participation. Bellin is now a participant in CMS’ Next Generation ACO Program.