WSHA presents primer on Washington hospital costs to the Health Care Cost Transparency Board

August 4, 2022

At the recent meeting of the Health Care Cost Transparency Bord, WSHA and its consultant, Bruce Deal from Analysis Group, used a robust set of data to discuss the factors behind Washington hospital payment increases. The presentation, which you can view here, highlighted the significance of employee costs and salary increases, current low operating margins, problems caused by low Medicaid payments, and other important considerations needed to analyze increases in hospital costs and commercial payments.

The July meeting also featured a presentation by two consultants HCCTB has hired specifically for an analysis of Washington hospitals’ performance. Using their initial set of findings, the HCCTB consultants reported Washington is relatively high in costs per discharge and payments per discharge compared to other states. In contrast, they also reported Washington hospital margins are very low. They speculated on why Washington hospitals are “underperforming” on margins but plan to do additional analysis, including an examination of individual hospital performance using Medicare cost report data.

WSHA is continuing to do its own analysis on Washington hospitals and also is in conversation with Board staff to see if there are opportunities to follow-up and address questions from the Board. (Katerina LaMarche)


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