Higher cost at one hospital doesn't necessarily mean higher quality, according to Pedro Morillas, CalPIRG's legislative director.
"Just because a specific hospital charges an arm and a leg doesn't mean you'll get better care there," Morillas
Generally, higher income levels near hospitals did not seem to be directly related to higher costs, Morillas
"The report has found there is a bigger correlation between market forces," he
"When you have bigger demand from patients, you're able to charge more for procedures.
That is, when they're a high-demand hospital."
Consumers don't know how to compare hospital care, Morillas
said, "because hospitals are not required to report outcomes, they're only required to report cost.
And those costs vary widely, he
said, in part because those price tags are only what hospitals charge, before they negotiate the real charge with insurance companies.
"Policy makers need more information, to know how much providing health care actually costs," Morillas
"Real cost and quality need to be accessible to consumers."
said the state's health benefit exchange, slated to open in 2014, eventually might provide aggregate quality and cost information.
"Right now the information isn't being collected in a comprehensive enough way to get an accurate picture of what these procedures should cost," Morillas
"The exchange will have an opportunity to collect a lot of this data.
They could get a lot of this information in a uniform, comprehensive way."
Some of that information could also be gathered and compiled by the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), Morillas