HCA trauma activation fees far exceed rivals, KHN finds

Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare's average activation fees at its trauma centers can be up to 10 times higher than those at non-HCA hospitals, according to Kaiser Health News

Trauma centers have become part of HCA Healthcare's growth strategy, corporate officials have said, according to a June 14 KHN report. The hospital operator has trauma centers in more than half of its 179 hospitals.

Publicly posted price lists show HCA Healthcare's trauma activation fees can be up to $50,000 per patient. In California, for example, the average trauma activation fee for HCA is $38,804, compared to an average non-HCA charge of $18,253, according to 2020 data cited by KHN.

In a statement to KHN, an HCA spokesperson said, "Fees associated with trauma activation are based on our costs to immediately deploy lifesaving resources and measures 24/7." 

Patients' out-of-pocket costs depend on their insurance plan, and uninsured and low-income patients often don't pay anything for trauma services, the spokesperson added.

Read the full report here

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