Does western NH need more healthcare competition?

No, Dolores, you are not having an acid flashback.  You are studying health cost data and expanding your mind in other ways.

Today we look at a chest x-ray from 4 different hospitals across the state.  Not sure what the market structure is like in the western part of the state, but an entrepreneurial radiologist may want to take Horace Greeley’s advice and “go west”.  Monadnock Hospital appears to screen very well on pretty much all quality metrics we publish.  So we are not saying the lowest price should always win.  But based on some initial work our initial conclusion is that consumers in the western area of the state may be paying more in healthcare.

Here is our violin plot.  We added a log scale to the y-axis to control for outliers.  It makes for a more readable chart.

No, the charts are not UFOs or a Freudian ink blot exam.  These violin charts depict the distribution of total costs across the four hospitals.  Violin plots are helpful because they enable us to observe multiple distributions, which represent various health plan pricing.

chest_total

Tell me the “So What?”

The primary take away here is that consumers who received the chest x-ray at Monadnock Community Hospital visited a more expensive facility as opposed to Catholic Memorial.  This is of particular interest for consumers with higher deductible plans.

Last, Elliot performed the highest number of these x-rays*  but appears to still be slightly more expensive than Catholic.  In a functioning market one would expect the lower cost provider to have a higher market share.

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*(CPT 71020, HMO, Commercial line of business, taken place at a hospital in 2014, paid claims, paid as primary, procedures with modifiers included.  CPT® copyright 2012 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.)

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