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SEATTLE – (Sept. 26, 2014) – Virginia Mason has introduced a service that gives its patients an estimate of what their out-of-pocket cost will be for a variety of medical and surgical services based on their health insurance policy.

Called the Patient Cost Estimator, the new service reflects Virginia Mason’s commitment to increasing transparency and openness in health care.

“We use this tool to help our patients who are planning surgeries and medical procedures to better understand what their insurance covers and what their out out-of-pocket cost will be,” said Amber Reeff, administrative director, Patient Financial Services. “It takes some of the mystery out of the health care purchasing process and helps them make informed decisions.”

While some health systems offer price estimates for surgeries and other procedures, those typically focus on the hospital portion of the care provided. In contrast, the new Virginia Mason Patient Cost Estimator offers a comprehensive estimate that includes charges from the physician, anesthesia, lab and other departments. It is a service for patients at Virginia Mason Hospital & Seattle Medical Center, and Virginia Mason regional medical centers in Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kirkland, Lynnwood and University Village.

Additionally, Virginia Mason has posted the estimated prices of its 100 most common minor outpatient surgical procedures on its website. “Many times people set up surgeries or treatments with little knowledge of what their personal share of the total cost will be,” Reeff said. “We believe we can improve the patient’s experience by improving transparency in the health care purchasing process.”

Individuals who want an estimate of their out-of-pocket cost for a medical procedure at Virginia Mason should call (206) 223-6715 between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

According to recent data from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, most in-hospital procedures at Virginia Mason cost 20 to 60 percent less than the same procedures performed at other Seattle hospitals.

 “Our financial counselors and patient pre-arrival teams are available to assist patients with out-of-pocket cost estimates based on the type of medical procedure or care plan they need,” Reeff said, adding that the Cost Estimator tool will become an online resource on the Virginia Mason website by next fall. “This service is available to patients who currently have an appointment scheduled and to those who are interested in knowing what their cost may be prior to scheduling an appointment. If a patient expresses a concern about how they will pay for their care, our financial counselors are ready to assist them with information and potential resources.”

About Virginia Mason
Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. Virginia Mason employs 6,000 people and includes a 336-bed acute-care hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 460 physicians; regional medical centers throughout the Puget Sound area; and Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the U.S. designed and built specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS. Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason is internationally recognized for its breakthrough autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason was the first health system to apply lean manufacturing principles to health care delivery to eliminate waste, lower cost, and improve quality and patient safety. Virginia Mason website: www.VirginiaMason.org

To learn more about Virginia Mason, please visit Facebook.com/VMcares or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter. To learn how Virginia Mason is transforming health care and to join the conversation, visit our blog at VirginiaMasonBlog.org.

Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Virginia Mason Media Relations
(206) 341-1509
gale.robinette@vmmc.org

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