Renee Y. Hsia

The CBS Evening News (4/23, story 11, 2:10, Scott Pelley) reported, "Surgery to remove a ruptured appendix is very common but a study out today found the price of such a common procedure can vary widely depending on the hospital." On ABC World News (4/23, story 8, 2:15, Diane Sawyer), ABC's Dan Harris reported that Dr. Renee Hsia "launched a study, examining what thousands of patients all over California paid for their appendectomies."  The New York Times (4/24, Rabin) "Well" blog reports that "according to the report published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine, fees for a routine appendectomy in California can range from $1,500 to - in one extreme case - $182,955. Researchers found wide variations in charges even among appendectomy patients treated at the same hospital." The AP (4/24, Tanner) reports, "The researchers and other experts say the results aren't unique to California and illustrate a broken system." According to Dr. Hsia, "there's no system at all to determine what is a rational price for this condition or this procedure." MSNBC /MyHealthNewsDaily (4/24, Rettner) reports, "The variation in price could partly be explained by differences in hospital ownership - whether a hospital was nonprofit, for profit or county-owned - and whether a facility was a trauma center or a 'teaching' hospital. But about one-third of the variation remained unexplained, the researchers said." On its website, ABC News (4/24, Tokin) quotes Dr. Hsia as saying, "If you go to a hospital, they can charge you whatever they want. Negotiated rates are trade secrets." MedPage Today (4/24) also covers the story.