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FLORIDA HEALTH CARE COST CONTAINMENT BOARD RELEASES IMPROVED COMPARISONS OF AVERAGE CHARGE DIFFERENCES AMONG FLORIDA HOSPITALS

 FLORIDA HEALTH CARE COST CONTAINMENT BOARD RELEASES IMPROVED
 COMPARISONS OF AVERAGE CHARGE DIFFERENCES AMONG FLORIDA HOSPITALS
 TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Dec. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Improved comparisons of average charge differences among Florida hospitals are available to Florida consumers who want to learn more about what to expect when faced with a hospital stay from information contained in a consumer brochure released today by the Florida Health Care Cost Containment Board (HCCB).
 "Hospital Costs Got You Puzzled? A Guide To Average Hospital Charges" contains average charge information for 12 of the most frequently treated diagnoses.
 HCCB Acting Executive Director Fred Bodendorf said the release of this brochure brings together two firsts for the agency.
 "This is the first time we are releasing an entire year's worth of data in one brochure," Bodendorf said. "It's also the first time we have zeroed in on specific treatment procedures, using Refined Diagnosis Related Groups (RDRGs)."
 The new RDRG classification system enables HCCB to provide consumers with more accurate comparisons of hospital charges in Florida by classifying illness categories into four severity levels: (1) uncomplicated, (2) moderately complicated, (3) severely complicated and (4) catastrophically complicated.
 "This system allows HCCB to peel back the onion yet another level to provide better information to Florida consumers," Bodendorf said. "It's a small baby step in looking at quality of care."
 For example, analysts are able to compare all costs related to treatment of non-surgical back problems without complications by examining RDRG 2430, Medical Back Problems. In the past, using Diagnostic Related Groups (DRGs), comparisons were made with severe cases grouped with the non-complicated treatments. With the RDRG system, comparisons are made on a more apples to apples approach, looking at average charges for patients with the same severity of illness.
 As in the past, consumers will see variations in the price of treatments offered at hospitals by using this brochure. These variations are attributed to different reasons, the most common being economic conditions in the different regions of the state, institutional differences, variations in efficiency, or differences in effectiveness -- provider quality and outcomes. These differences will be further identified through measures such as length of stay, number of procedures conducted, and quality of care.
 This and other publications are provided to consumers free-of-charge and can be obtained by calling 800-342-0828 (24 hours a day) or by writing to: HCCB Consumer Brochures, 325 John Knox Road, The Atrium Building/Suite 301, Tallahassee, FL 32303.
 HCCB, created by the Florida Legislature in 1979, strives to provide health policy leadership in the state of Florida and to advise the governor and legislature on strategies to make quality health care accessible and affordable to all Florida citizens in accordance with applicable statutes.
 -0- 12/23/91
 /CONTACT: David Coley of the Florida Health Care Cost Containment Board, 904-922-5765/ CO: Florida Health Care Cost Containment Board ST: Florida IN: SU:


SS-JJ -- FL009 -- 4885 12/23/91 14:08 EST
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Dec 23, 1991
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