Transparency Fifty™ Update and Observations

What is the Transparency Fifty™?

This report identifies the 50 most common outpatient procedures where hospitals compete with free-standing entities. This helps hospitals who are searching for strategies to reduce prices, by focusing on procedures where they are likely to have the most competition from free-standing providers. 

Cleverley + Associates first released this report about a year ago, using 2016 Medicare charge data, but we updated it for 2017. For this current version, we compared volumes and charges for free-standing entities to hospitals for imaging, laboratory tests, outpatient surgery, therapy and sleep lab to determine the top codes where they compete.

  • We replaced seven HCPCS codes with the following due to changes in usage between 2016 and 2017:
    • Imaging
      • CAT scan of head or brain
      • CT abdomen & pelvis w/o contrast
      • Contrast CAT scan of chest
      • CT abdomen & pelvis 1+ sections/regions
    • Lab
      • Presumptive drug class screening
    • Therapy
      • PT evaluation moderate complexity 30 minutes
    • Surgical Procedures
      • Interlaminar lumbar/sacral epidural injection with imaging guidance (new code in 2017)
      • Transforaminal epidural injection; lumbar or sacral, single level 

We had a few interesting reflections on the new and improved report.

For the 18 imaging codes on this report, the US hospital price compared to the US Free-standing price is 216% higher on average. One interesting exception where the hospital price and free-standing price were almost equal is for Screening Mammography.

For the 17 laboratory tests on this report, the US hospital price compared to the US Free-standing price is 209% higher on average. The lone exception in this area was for the newly added code for Presumptive Drug Class Screening where the average hospital price is lower.

For the six therapy procedures, the US hospital price is about 231% higher on average than the US free-standing price. The percentage difference between hospitals and free-standing is very consistent across these codes. 

Sleep lab and ECG monitoring procedures for hospitals are priced 174% higher than free-standing entities on average.

In Summary, we believe the Transparency Fifty™report will help hospitals compare their prices in areas where competition is high from free-standing centers and will help them position themselves to better compete for ambulatory patients who engage in price shopping. 

For more information about the report, or any of our other reports, give us a call at 888.779.5663.

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