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Pricing Transparency

Under current law, hospitals are required to establish and make public a list of their standard charges (also called the charge description master, CDM, or chargemaster). The charge information displayed on this website is representative of either current hospital charges or average charges for items that are not priced until dispensed (pharmaceuticals, biologicals, supplies and implants).

Note: See data in spreadsheet. To open, you may need to save and download.

Background

In an effort to encourage price transparency by improving public accessibility of charge information, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) updated its guidelines, effective Jan. 1, 2019, to specifically require hospitals to make public a list of their standard charges via the internet in a machine-readable format, and to update this information at least annually, or more often as appropriate.

Information to Help Patients Use This Data

This data is intended to help you become a well-informed patient who actively participates in your medical care. This report is one tool; use it as a guide. In addition, you can ask questions about your diagnosis and proposed medical care; written information may be available. If the terms are too technical, ask what they mean. Clear information will help you more successfully follow your doctor’s advice.

Other information that will help put this data into context:

  • Physician charges are not included. Depending on the services provided, you may receive a separate bill from some providers within UC San Diego Health that have their own billing departments. (For a list of these departments, see Billing and Insurance.) Please direct any questions for these departments to the phone number provided on the billing statement.
  • Practice decisions vary from physician to physician, and collectively may explain some differences in charges and outcomes across facilities (if you utilize this information to compare to other healthcare facilities).
  • Severity of illness and intensity of care may vary. Patients within the same diagnostic related group (DRG) may need very different levels of service and staff attention, causing a variation in charges.
  • Current charges and outcomes may be different than those displayed here. The information presented is a snapshot of the data from the most recently available 12-month time period for the average charges by DRG, and UC San Diego Health is committed to refreshing the data semi-annually, at the beginning of the calendar year and at the beginning of our fiscal year to reflect any charge increase based on inflation by suppliers and pharmaceutical companies.
  • Some reasons why charges may differ among facilities:
    • The equipment facilities use to provide services differs in age and frequency of use and may impact the charges of the hospital.
    • Salary scales may differ by region and are typically higher in urban areas than in rural areas.
    • Shortages of nurses and other medical personnel may affect regions differently. Where shortages are more severe, staffing costs, and therefore charges, may be higher.
    • Facilities differ in their approach to pricing based on operational costs. Some facilities try to spread the cost of all services and equipment among all patients. Others establish charges for specific services based on the cost to provide each specific service. Some facilities may provide certain services at a loss while other facility operations subsidize the losses. Any of these situations can result in significantly different charges among hospitals for a given type of service.
  • Charges shown are the facility’s standard service/supply charges. The charge reduction for the service/supplies the patient receives is based on your insurance company’s contract with UC San Diego Health.
  • For self-pay patients who do not qualify for financial assistance, we offer a discount equal to 45 percent of the charge for many qualifying services/supplies.
  • The file is based on Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs). A DRG is a grouping of diagnoses which represent similar, but not the same, diseases, and the resources provided to care for patients with similar diseases. For example, there is more than one DRG for pneumonia; that is, a patient may group into a different pneumonia DRG depending on the type and severity of the pneumonia and the resources necessary to treat it.

Other Resources

For general questions about health care, refer to these sites:

Contact Us

We are here to help. For billing questions, call 855-827-3633, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. weekdays, or email askus@ucsd.edu.

You can also visit Frequently Asked Questions for information about general billing issues, financial assistance and your billing statements.