A letter from our CFO
After housing, health care expenses represent the largest component of a family's budget. The cost of a family member having anything from a simple procedure to an extensive, invasive surgery can have lasting impacts on any budget. Columbia Memorial Hospital's role in this process is not just to heal the sick, but to assist in one's care long after healing. Because of this, we want to talk with you about a significant change you may have heard about related to price transparency in health care organizations.
In 2021, the federal government will require health care providers to provide information on health care services that, together with other information, helps define the value of those services. Price transparency information will enable patients to identify, compare and choose providers that offer the desired value level. You will see a listing on our website called Columbia Memorial Hospital's Standard Charges, as well as an interactive tool to assist you in estimating the cost of your care here at CMH.
However, the Standard Charges and accompanying reference materials should not be the only tool you use to compare costs related to your health care. The idea of "shopping" for services is much more involved than a simple listing of services and price tags.
The easiest way to visualize the process is to think of a triangle. The triangle contains three points or parties: you, the patient; CMH, the provider of services; and your insurer.
To understand the actual cost of health care, you can use the provider Standard Charges as a starting point, but must realize that each health care organization has a separate agreement with various insurers, and not all insurers pay the same amount toward care. Each patient and their policy have different co-pays and co-insurance levels that we must consider when estimating the total cost of care.
As with all things related to somebody's health, health care pricing brings with it as much emotion as the procedures themselves. Balancing medical decisions while also considering the price of those choices is unimaginable. That is where we can help. At any point in your medical journey, I encourage you to reach out to our Patient Financial Services team. With a simple phone call, we can help you get the most up-to-date information about billing and potential out-of-pocket expenses. We will use the tools provided and our knowledge of individual plans to ensure that you are well-informed. We want you to have a personal financial caregiver who will alleviate concerns and interact with you and your family for these critical decisions.
At CMH, we know our services stretch far beyond just your health. In a small area such as Clatsop County, many of you are our families, and we want to care for your financial needs as we would our own.
Thank you for trusting us with your care.
Zach Schmitt, Chief Financial Officer
CMH charges everyone the same prices. As a not-for-profit hospital, CMH's prices only include the cost of providing the service in a rural area and community health needs. But your final cost will also depend on your health insurance.
Each service or item has a "charge" or price associated with it. After a hospital stay or visit, your total charges will vary based on:
- The severity of your illness.
- The number and types of procedures performed.
- Medical devices used.
- How long you're at CMH.
Your total charges do not include fees charged by physicians working in the hospital, such as radiologists, pathologists, hospitalists and anesthesiologists.
Most insurance companies have negotiated rates with CMH. So your cost may vary from someone else's for the same service because of your health insurance. In most instances, people with Medicare, Medicaid or commercial insurance will pay much less than the original charge.
At CMH, we want to help you plan for and control your costs. Please call one of our financial counselors at 503.338.7530. They can help you estimate the cost of your medical care beforehand. And they can help you find financial assistance, if you meet the qualifications.
DISCLAIMER: Columbia Memorial Hospital (CMH) makes no guarantees regarding the accuracy of the pricing information provided herein. The pricing information provided by this website is strictly an estimate of prices, and CMH cannot guarantee the accuracy of any estimates. All estimates are based on information provided by a prospective patient and do not include, among other things, any unforeseen complications, additional tests or procedures, and non-hospital related charges — any of which may increase the ultimate cost of the services provided. Any prospective patient should understand that a final bill for services rendered at CMH may differ substantially from the information provided by this website, and CMH shall not be liable for any inaccuracies.