Jefferson Healthcare conducted a complete pricing review in Fall 2018 to ensure alignment with other hospitals. From the review, several prices were identified for adjustment to be more competitive while continuing to be viable and able to reinvest in community care. Jefferson Healthcare reviewed every line item for consistency across service lines and modalities, to be no higher than the median for Harrison, Seattle and Tacoma market.
Jefferson Healthcare set the new prices to be comparable to other hospitals in the area while at the same time considering the resources needed to provide each service. Resources include staffing, time, equipment and materials used for service. Jefferson Healthcare reviewed every line of the Chargemaster (list of charges with corresponding procedure codes) to ensure prices were comparable, matched the complexity of the service, and corresponded to the resources needed to provide the service. Given their proximity, Jefferson Healthcare looked at Olympic Medical Center and Harrison Medical Center. Several hospitals in the Seattle area (including Harborview, Overlake, Providence Everett, Swedish First Hill, University of Washington, and Virginia Mason) and two hospitals in the Tacoma area (St. Josephs and Tacoma General Hospital) were also considered in the review.
As a public hospital, with very low tax support compared to other public hospital districts, it is important to set prices at a sustainable level to ensure very important services to our community are maintained. Jefferson Healthcare does not go above the median of the market to achieve this priority, and as a result, rates have been reduced in several areas to meet this objective. The biggest downward adjustments were seen in diagnostic imaging (x-ray, CT, MRI and ultrasound), laboratory tests and respiratory therapy.
“Providing care for our community is the reason we are here. That being said, we understand people have a choice for their care. We want to be their choice and we don’t want costs to be the reason a significant decision is made”, said Hilary Whittington, Chief Financial and Administrative Officer at Jefferson Healthcare. She went on to add “There are very few things that affect our entire budget as much as our pricing. My team and I worked very hard to come up with pricing which was fair, comparable and allowed us to grow service lines to support our community’s health needs.”
The revised pricing is available on the Jefferson Healthcare website for review. The list may be a useful tool to understand prices, though most services involve a combination of prices. It is important to understand that in many cases it is impossible to predict final charges because of variables that affect services. Patient responsibility varies by payor and can include copays, coinsurance, or other patient responsibility. Insurance companies determine the portion of the bill the member is responsible for, and the team of Jefferson Healthcare Financial Counselors are available to help understand these terms and to ensure all components are considered. The financial counseling team can be reached at 360-385-2200 x2267 for an estimate.