close up of hospital patient hand with tube inserted

SUMMARY: We’re often asked about the relationship between cost and quality: If it’s more expensive, it must be better, right? A recent piece in Modern Healthcare tries to get to the bottom of what it calls the “disconnects between lower costs and better outcomes” by examining outcomes of angioplasty or coronary angioplasty — sending a balloon through narrowed veins to open them. It’s a procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention, or PCI, by specialists.


“A Modern Healthcare analysis found that in seven of 12 cities examined, the hospital with the lower average cost for inpatient and outpatient PCI procedures also had a lower readmission rate for PCI patients. In the other five cities, hospitals with a higher average cost had lower readmission rates,” says the piece, by Joe Carlson.

“ ‘Just because your insurance company paid a whole lot for your hospitalization doesn’t mean it was good quality to you,’ said Dr. Gregg Fonarow, co-director of the UCLA Preventative Cardiology Program in Los Angeles. He hopes more findings such as those on the costs and quality for PCI procedures will focus healthcare providers and insurers on delivering value to patients. “The hope is, with continued reporting of outcomes metrics and the beginning of reporting of cost and charge data, we can get there,” he said.

“Chapin White, a senior health researcher at the Center for Studying Health System Change, said, ‘The raw material is there for a good conversation about which hospitals are expensive, which hospitals are cheap, and are we getting our money’s worth from the expensive hospitals.’ Lower cost hospitals can deliver better quality, Modern Healthcare analysis finds | Modern Healthcare.

Jeanne Pinder

Jeanne Pinder  is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded...