Top Maryland Hospitals Worry About Effects Of Health Reform

Leaders at Maryland's top hospitals worry about efforts to cut hospital costs in the health care reform proposals. The Baltimore Sun reports: "Urban academic medical centers such as top-ranked Johns Hopkins Hospital and the University of Maryland, with its world-class trauma center, are more expensive to run than community hospitals and rural teaching hospitals. The difference can mean patient bills that are higher by thousands of dollars. Administrators at these urban medical centers fear the national focus on cost-cutting will hurt their ability to train doctors, research diseases and treat complex problems. ... And, the urban centers argue, they're more pricey than rural teaching hospitals because they treat poorer and sicker patients in an area with higher costs."

"The U.S government has long paid urban teaching hospitals higher rates through Medicare. But now legislative proposals would slow the growth of Medicare payment rates overall and would study geographic disparities in spending. ... Maryland hospitals are not specific targets -- in fact, the state has been hailed by some analysts for efforts to keep hospital costs down" (Brewington and Hopkins, 11/29).

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