How Much Does a Knee Replacement Cost? A Question From a NJ Transit Bus

May 26, 2013
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An ad for surgery on the side of a bus is guaranteed to get my attention. So this ad for “custom knee replacement” at the Raritan Bay Medical Center was definitely of interest.

smallerbus2013-05-17_09-19-04_614

An ad for surgery on the side of a bus is guaranteed to get my attention. So this ad for “custom knee replacement” at the Raritan Bay Medical Center was definitely of interest.

I called the hospital to ask what that means, and what it would cost. The customization comes, according to Maryann Finney, assistant director of nursing for the surgical services, when a patient has an MRI before surgery and the MRI is then sent to the implant maker, which customizes an implant based on the MRI results.

Would a price quote be available before surgery? Yes, she said, keeping in mind that implant costs vary.

“You’d have to make sure you have already gone to a physician,” she said. ”You can call us and tell us who your physician is, see what he will use as an implant and we would incorporate that into the price.”

If you wanted to shop around, you could use the interactive map on Medicare pricing made by The New York Times from the Medicare charge and payment data made public recently by the Department of Health and Human Services. The numbers include what hospitals charged Medicare and what Medicare paid them for 100 frequent diagnoses. “Major joint replacement” is one of the cases.

About the buses: they are New Jersey transit buses, according to Lynette King-Davis, vice president of marketing at the hospital,  an independent nonprofit hospital with two locations, one in Perth Amboy and one in Old Bridge, licensed for 501 beds.

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While prices for knee replacements are not listed on the hospital’s web site, they do have the answer to another frequently asked question: how much does gastric bypass surgery cost? At Raritan Bay, gastric band surgery costs $11,400; gastric bypass surgery $19,400; and gastric sleeve surgery $15,100,

“Please note that the prices below are ‘Bundled’ prices, which means that the prices quoted on this page are prices of the procedures quoted below, which includes hospital stay, anesthesiology and physician/surgeon fees. Any other fees associated with the procedures, including labs and radiology are not included. If you have any questions about the procedures and prices below, please call us at 732.324.5098.”

And also on Google, I see that knee replacements are being advertised quite a bit– a search brought up results from a large number of providers, including the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

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