Average Cost-to-Charge Ratios for Hospitals

I stumbled across this chart and found it interesting enough to share:


So this says that an average hospital can charge more than 28 times as much for a CT scan than it costs them to do it, but can charge less than 2 times what it costs them to do general routine care.

Besides, anesthesiology, the 5 most profitable procedures are high-tech diagnostics, then comes the highly specialized cardiac catheterization procedure (6), followed by 6 more technical services until a true doctor’s worth first arises in the ER half way down the list (13). General routine care is even less profitable than physical therapy (22).

Considering how little profit there is in doctors spending time with patients, it’s no wonder that technological solutions and diagnostics are increasingly used.

While face-to-face time between patients and doctors is widely agreed to be essential to good medical care, it is one of the least profitable medical services for a hospital and thus promoted as little as possible.

Since profit necessarily trumps generosity in a system of publicly owned corporations (that’s what most hospitals are now), most time and money are applied where they bring the most benefit to the corporation.

Running on the leanest of budgets and extreme cost-cutting measures, there are constant staff shortages, leading to excessive work, leading to large staff turnover, leading to less experienced and then less competent staff, and eventually leading to inferior or even hazardous neglect of patient care.

The doctor-patient visit is ground zero of American health care, where “the rubber meets the road”.

All the guidelines, suggestions, incentives, rules, propaganda, cultural values and personal beliefs come together to act on a patient.


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