With Senator Kay Hagan’s controversial support of the Affordable Care Act and the subsequent release of anti-Obamacare ads in North Carolina, many Tar Heel residents are keeping their eyes on health care. Regardless of how the ACA fares in North Carolina, those seeking health services should take the time to find the best value.
NerdWallet Health built a Best Hospitals tool to help patients investigate the cost of hospital care in their local areas. Using this data we analyzed the 100 most common treatments at the 50 largest hospitals in North Carolina to find the top 10 most affordable hospitals. We asked the following questions:
1) Which North Carolina hospitals offer the highest number of affordable treatments and where are they located?
2) What are these treatments?
3) How satisfied are patients of these hospitals?
The Top 10 Most Affordable Hospitals in North Carolina
1. Alamance Regional Medical Center—Burlington, NC
Alamance Regional Medical Center is a non-profit community health care organization that serves Alamance County and its surrounding communities. With a 64% patient satisfaction rate, Alamance Regional strives to provide a combination of “high-quality clinical, educational, preventative-wellness, and support services in a safe and friendly environment.” The hospital caters to patients of all economic backgrounds, offering financial aid and support through generous community donors. In addition to providing behavioral health, heart and vascular and imaging services, Alamance Regional is affordable for treatments of shingles, hernia procedures and Parkinson’s disease.
2. Carolinas Medical Center-Union—Monroe, NC
Carolinas Medical Center (CMC)-Union is a part of the largest, non-profit health care system in the Carolinas, known as Carolinas HealthCare System. This general medical and surgical facility treats cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and many other ailments. It also offers sleep centers. As part of its commitment to providing the most innovative health care, CMC-Union is currently renovating and expanding, with a plan to add 25 medical/surgical beds, state-of-the-art maternity suites, a four-bed special care nursery and a new family lounge. With affordable treatments of pneumonia, congestive heart failure and bladder infection, CMC-Union receives a patient satisfaction rate of 71%.
3. Morehead Memorial Hospital—Eden, NC
Located in the heart of North Carolina, Morehead Memorial lies on a 22-acre campus in central Eden. Morehead Memorial was built in 1960 through a community campaign and Hill Burton Funding. The hospital’s main campus includes “inpatient and day hospital services, a state-of-the-art emergency department, a birthing center, a nursing center and a cancer treatment center.” Local residents can find affordable treatments here for spinal stenosis, dehydration and severe anemia. The hospital has a 71% patient satisfaction rate.
4. Wayne Memorial Hospital—Goldsboro, NC
Wayne Memorial Hospital serves citizens of Goldsboro and the surrounding communities. With a patient satisfaction rate of 60%, this 274-bed facility is affordable for hip and knee replacements, and also offers treatment for asthma and other respiratory problems. Wayne Memorial is accredited by the Joint Commission and aims to become the regional employer of choice for health care professionals by 2020.
5. MedWest-Haywood—Clyde, NC
As the first county hospital in North Carolina, MedWest Haywood was created in 1927. It offers services in six categories: orthopedics, cardiology, general surgery, women’s care, emergency medicine and behavioral health. This non-profit, 189-bed facility offers care for patients of Clyde and surrounding communities with a 68% patient satisfaction rate. During 2013 MedWest-Haywood admitted 6,315 patients and performed 1,696 surgeries. Look to MedWest for affordable treatments of dizziness, severe heartburn and sepsis.
6. Margaret R. Pardee Memorial Hospital—Hendersonville, NC
Margaret R. Pardee Memorial Hospital was originally named Patton Memorial Hospital in 1913, when it accommodated just 26 patients. Since then the hospital has grown into a 222-bed facility serving all of Henderson County. This non-profit’s commitment to high standards of care and cost efficiency yields a patient satisfaction rate of 73%. Pardee provides affordable treatments for pacemaker implantation, diagnostic cardiac catheterization and heart rhythm disorders. It was the first and only hospital in North Carolina to be accredited for quality care by the International Organization for Standardization.
7. Carolina East Medical Center—New Bern, NC
For 50 years, Carolina East Medical Center has made a big difference in the coastal North Carolina community through its constant growth and advancement in providing the best possible health care. With a 75% patient satisfaction rate, this 350-bed facility employs a staff of over 2,100 medical and support personnel dedicated to fulfilling its mission of “deliver(ing) compassionate, quality care.” Carolina East Medical Center offers affordable treatments for stroke, emphysema and knee cartilage damage.
8. The Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital—Greensboro, NC
This extensive 536-bed teaching hospital and referral center serves a five-county region and lies on a 63-acre campus. Medical and surgical facilities at Cone Memorial include general internal medicine, an inpatient rehabilitation center, a level II trauma center and an urgent care center. U.S. News and World Report ranks Cone Memorial as the fifth best hospital in North Carolina and as high-performing in nine specialties, including nephrology and orthopedics. Most patients report a positive experience at Cone Memorial, which carries a patient satisfaction rate of 77%. Cone Memorial offers affordable treatments for aortic aneurysm repair, surgical spinal fusion and treatment of kidney damage.
9. University of North Carolina Hospitals—Chapel Hill, NC
The University of North Carolina Health Care System consists of general care, children’s, women’s, neurosciences and cancer hospitals. This teaching hospital partners with the Chapel Hill School of Medicine to educate future health care providers. University of North Carolina Hospitals promote their advanced, high-quality care, which includes a patient satisfaction rate of 86%. U.S. News & World Report ranks University of North Carolina Hospitals nationally in cancer, ear, nose, and throat, and gynecology treatments and procedures, and as the #3 Best Hospital in North Carolina. The hospital system is also ranked as high performing in nine specialties, including urology and geriatrics. University of North Carolina Hospitals are affordable for treatments for blood clots in the lungs and angioplasty.
10. Columbus Regional Healthcare System—Whiteville, NC
In 1935, local physician Dr. Warren Edwin Miller created a small 12-bed hospital out of his own home that would grow to eventually become the Columbus Regional Healthcare System (CRHS). Today, CRHS is a non-profit hospital that contains a highly trained staff and 154 licensed beds. Services offered by CRHS include rehabilitation services, infection control, cardiac services, laboratory services, imaging, family birthing center, robotic surgery and much more. Patients of CRHS report a satisfaction rate of 65%. CRHS is affordable for treatments of acute heart attacks and surgically acquired infections.
|Ranking||Hospital Name||Location||Most Affordable for Common Diagnoses/Treatments Such As:||Patient Satisfaction|
|1||Alamance Regional Medical Center||Burlington||Shingles, hernia, Parkinson’s||64%|
|2||Carolinas Medical Center-Union||Monroe||Pneumonia, congestive heart failure, bladder infection||71%|
|3||Morehead Memorial Hospital||Eden||Spinal stenosis, dehydration, severe anemia||71%|
|4||Wayne Memorial Hospital||Goldsboro||Hip and knee replacement, asthma, respiratory failure||60%|
|5||MedWest-Haywood||Clyde||Dizziness, severe heartburn, sepsis||68%|
|6||Margaret R. Pardee Memorial Hospital||Hendersonville||Pacemaker implantation, diagnostic cardiac catheterization, heart rhythm disorders||73%|
|7||Carolina East Medical Center||New Bern||Stroke, emphysema, knee cartilage damage||75%|
|8||The Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital||Greensboro||Aortic aneurysm repair, surgical spinal fusion, kidney damage||77%|
|9||University Of North Carolina Hospital||Chapel Hill||Blood clots in the lungs, angioplasty||86%|
|10||Columbus Regional Healthcare System||Whiteville||Acute heart attack, surgically acquired infection||65%|
Affordability: Using CMS Medicare Provider Charge Data, we calculated which of the 50 largest hospitals in North Carolina (of 88 total) has the lowest price for each of the 100 most common medical procedures. We then summed the number of times that each hospital had the lowest price and ranked based on which hospitals had the highest number. The data are for services billed for Medicare patients.
Procedures/diagnoses: For the procedures that each hospital was least expensive, we presented the most commonly known.
Patient satisfaction: Patient satisfaction ratings were obtained from HCAHPS, a nationally administered survey on patient satisfaction. “Satisfied” was taken to be patients who reported, “I would definitely recommend this hospital” on this survey.
Hospital characteristics: Individual hospital websites and U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals.
North Carolina flag photo courtesy of Shutterstock.