Utah Valley Regional Medical Center officials said Tuesday the hospital's charges for medical services are in line with state averages.

The Utah Hospital Association's annual guide to hospital charges was recently released. The report categorizes charges by treatment. It is compiled from records sent voluntarily by the contributing hospitals.The publication is only a guide because specific treatment procedures may vary from hospital to hospital. For example, certain hospitals include doctor's fees in the total cost of a procedure and other hospitals do not. The data is not presented in a way that outlines differences in treatment and billing procedures.

Larry R. Dursteler, chief operating officer for the hospital, said Utah Valley can explain the various services that resulted in a specific charge at their own hospital, but officials cannot separate individual charges from other hospitals.

But, Dursteler said, the information about charges at the various hospitals is a useful tool. "Within Intermountain Health Care, no price changes are made except in an annual budget review. No hospital responds immediately to the study."

The study is taken into account when considering the budget, he said, but charges are made in relation to cost of a medical service. Dursteler said an exception is walk-in in the emergency room. There are very high costs to staffing an emergency room that are not passed on to walk-in patients.

The study indicates that charges for services at Utah Valley Medical Center are very close to charges at comparable hospitals. Dursteler said that in two of 25 common diagnostic areas, Utah Valley's charges were the highest of nine hospitals. But in 12 of the 25 areas, the charges were at the midpoint or below average.

"On the whole, it's our sense that we fall in the middle range," said Dursteler.

Rod Lisonbee, chief financial officer for Intermountain Health Care in Utah County, said rate changes are based on long-term planning. He said they look at health care facilities with the long term in mind.

Dursteler said activity at the hospital is increasing every year.


(Additional information)

Medical costs

Avg. length Median

Illness Hospital of stay charge

Pneumonia/pleurisy University 3.3 days $1,811

(age 0-17) McKay-Dee 4.1 2,274

Cottonwood 3.3 2,391

Utah Valley 4.0 2,593

Heart failure/ Cottonwood 5.4 3,377

shock Utah Valley 6.3 3,804

McKay-Dee 6.5 4,078

University 6.8 4,733

Caesarean delivery McKay-Dee 3.8 2,142

w/o complications Cottonwood 3.9 3,008

University 6.0 3,039

Utah Valley 4.0 3,095

Vaginal delivery McKay-Dee 2.0 1,209

w/o complications Cottonwood 2.1 1,416

Utah Valley 1.7 1,508

University 2.6 1,524

Normal newborn University 2.0 361

Utah Valley 1.7 370

McKay-Dee 2.1 391

Cottonwood 2.2 498