Report: N.J. hospitals most expensive in the U.S. and Meadowlands hospital is at the top
By Susan K. Livio/The Star-Ledger The Star-Ledger
Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Secaucus is the most expensive hospital in the nation, according to an analysis of hospital claims in 2011-12 released today by National Nurses United, a labor and professional association group. Bob Scarrino/The Star-Ledger
TRENTON — New Jersey has the most expensive hospitals in the nation, with Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Secaucus charging the highest rates in the country, according to an analysis of federal data by the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in the nation.
For every $100 in Medicare costs, New Jersey hospitals charge $583, based on claims from 2011 and 2012, said Charles Idelson, spokesman for the National Nurses United. Florida and California were the second and third most costly.
Meadowlands charged $1,192 for every $100 in cost — the highest at the top of the heap of about 4,300 hospitals, according to the report. Bayonne Medical Center was sixth-highest, charging $1,084.
"Whether you have insurance or not, the amount you are going to pay is based on what prices hospitals set and there is no way to verify whether it is legitimate or not," said Jean Ross, a registered nurse for 40 years and co-president of the organization. "There is no way to police them, and it's only gotten worse."
The organization's analysis differs from what the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released last spring, when it determined Bayonne was the most expensive hospital. The nurses organization compared what private insurance companies and government programs for all treatments and services, while the federal government only examined a select number of procedures paid for by Medicaid, Idelson said.
Representatives for Meadowlands and Bayonne hospitals could not immediately be reached for comment.
The nurses' group hopes its analysis will draw attention to the need for more regulation of what hospitals are allowed to charge — something the Affordable Care Act does not adequately address. Idelson said.
"We think there needs to be definite policy changes," Idelson said. "We need tougher regulations on price gauging. Drug companies do it, medical supply companies, nursing homes do it. There are very weak price controls in the Affordable Care Act."
The likeliest culprits are for-profit hospitals, which by their corporate structure do not have to disclose their financial information, he added. "There should be more public disclosure of what these prices are and why."
MOST EXPENSIVE HOSPITALS IN N.J.
From on an analysis by National Nurses United (Based on for every $100 in hospital costs)
1. Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center, Secaucus, 1,192%
2. Bayonne Medical Center, Bayonne, 1,084%
3. Lourdes Medical Center (Catholic Health East), Willingboro, 853%
4. Helene Fuld Medical Center (Capitol Health), Trenton, 846%
5. Memorial Hospital of Salem County (Community Health Systems, Inc.), Salem, 809%
6. Warren Hospital (Luke's University Health Network), Phillipsburg, 793%
7. RWJ University Hospital - Hamilton (Robert Wood Johnson Health System & Network), Ewing, 768%
8. Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center (Catholic Health East), Lodi, 763%
9. Christ Hospital, Jersey City, 763%
10. Capital Health Medical Center - Hopewell (Capital Health), Pennington, 743%