State web sites feature average outpatient charges

To compare your procedure charges with other facilities, look to two state web sites that offer this information for free.

While several states collect hospital outpatient data and some collect surgery center data, Wisconsin and Missouri are unusual in that they post data by county and region with names of facilities and charges for common procedures on their web sites.

Providers can use a web site sponsored by the Madison-based Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services to look up the average cost for seven ambulatory surgery procedures in that state.

The seven procedures include colonoscopy, carpal tunnel release, ear tube insertion, flexible sigmoidoscopy, laparoscopic cholecystectomy, left heart catheterization, and upper endoscopy.

The web site provides the average statewide facility charge, as well as the average facility charge at individual surgery centers and hospitals across the state. Go to: www.dhfs.state.wi.us/healthcarecosts. Click on "find a facility’s average charge for an outpatient procedure."

The Missouri Department of Health and Human Services in Jefferson lists facility charges and number of cases for outpatient procedures at hospitals and freestanding centers.

Go to www.health.state.mo.us. Click on "Data" and then click on "Outpatient Procedure Charges by Hospital," which includes freestanding centers.