Study: Hospitals Overpay for Devices

BY CHRISTOPHER WEAVER, The Wall Street Journal

Some hospitals pay thousands of dollars more than others for big-ticket medical devices such as defibrillators and hip replacements, and a portion of the higher costs could be passed on to the federal Medicare program, a new government report says.

Among 31 hospitals surveyed by investigators for the Government Accountability Office, one paid $8,723 more than another for an identical model of a device that regulates heart rhythm. The device, called an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, typically costs the hospitals between $16,445 and $19,007.

In another finding, prices paid for the same drug-eluting stents, used to prop open diseased blood vessels,...

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