The recent Virginia governor’s race drew attention to the effect healthcare reform has on statewide politics. As this interplay continues into 2014 and the deadline for purchasing a marketplace plan draws closer, more Virginians will have to secure health coverage or choose to pay the penalty. As a consequence, the cost of healthcare will be top-of-mind for many. 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 Virginia to find the most affordable hospitals. We asked the following questions:
1) Which Virginia hospitals offer the highest number of affordable treatments?
2) What are these treatments?
3) How satisfied are patients of these hospitals?
The Most Affordable Hospitals in Virginia
- Martha Jefferson Hospital—Charlottesville, VA
From humble beginnings that stemmed from the aspirations of seven local community physicians, Martha Jefferson has served Central Virginia since 1904. The 84-acre Martha Jefferson campus includes not only the 540,000 square foot hospital, but also two outpatient care centers (one with a freestanding emergency department), ten primary care practices, three specialty care practices, and diagnostic and medical imaging centers. Martha Jefferson employs a medical staff of 420 physicians and offers affordable treatments for congestive heart failure, fainting, appendicitis, and many others. Named High-Performing in six specialties and ranked as #8 in Virginia by U.S. News & World Report, Martha Jefferson features a patient satisfaction rate of 85 percent.
- Augusta Health—Fishersville, VA
This 255-bed hospital rests in the Shenandoah Valley and sees more than 60,000 emergency room visitors per year. Augusta Health opened in 1994 and has a 69 percent patient satisfaction rate. The hospital has received numerous awards: in 2013, Augusta was named one of HealthGrade’s 100 Best Hospitals in America and received the American Stroke Association’s Get With the Guidelines award for success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care. Augusta Health established the Augusta Medical Group in 2008, which lead to the expansion of urgent care centers and convenient care clinics in the Greater Augusta County service area. Augusta Health offers affordable treatments for stroke, pneumonia, and asthma, among others.
- Winchester Medical Center—Winchester, VA
As the #5 ranked hospital in Virginia according to U.S. News & World Report, Winchester Medical Center is also designated as High-Performing in nine specialties, including cardiology and gastroenterology. This non-profit, 445-bed, Level II trauma center is operated by ValleyHealth, which serves the healthcare needs of the “Top of Virginia” region, as well as neighboring West Virginia and Maryland. Look here for affordable treatments for Parkinson’s, high blood pressure, and internal bleeding, as well as a patient satisfaction rate of 77 percent. In 2012, Winchester Medical Center completed a $161-million campus expansion program geared at improving the 22-year old campus, specifically its critical care and women’s services departments.
- Rockingham Memorial Hospital—Harrisonburg, VA
For more than a century, Rockingham Memorial Hospital has been an important part of not only the Harrisonburg community, but also of the seven surrounding counties. This community hospital strives to provide “exceptional quality and compassionate care for every person, every family, every day” and receives a patient satisfaction rate of 70 percent. Ranked the #16 hospital in Virginia and named High-Performing in pulmonology by U.S. News & World Report, Rockingham Memorial focuses on patient-centered care and features private patient rooms, special flooring, and automatic hand washing and toilet flushing. This 238-bed hospital admits more than 16,300 inpatients and nearly 192,000 outpatients annually. Rockingham Memorial offers affordable treatments for pacemaker implantation, emphysema, and hernia.
- Virginia Hospital Center—Arlington, VA
What started in 1933 as a simple Arlington community service project among five women’s clubs is now Virginia Hospital Center, a 530,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art teaching hospital designed for patient and visitor comfort. The hospital, with its 342 beds and comprehensive array of services, has proudly served the people of Northern Virginia for nearly 70 years. In 2004, Virginia Hospital Center opened its doors to a brand new $150-million facility. It was named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals in 2013 and 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals in 2014 by Truven Health Analytics. With a patient satisfaction rate of 85 percent, Virginia Hospital Center offers affordable treatments for shingles, seizure, and cardiac catheterization.
- Centra Lynchburg General Hospital—Lynchburg, VA
Centra Lynchburg General Hospital is one of three hospitals facilitated by Centra Health, a non-profit healthcare system dedicated to providing excellence in all aspects of healthcare at 38 different locations. Ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the #6 best hospital in Virginia, Centra Lynchburg was also named High-Performing in eight specialties, including geriatrics, orthopedics, and pulmonology. Centra Lynchburg is a Level II trauma center that treats more than 92,000 emergency room patients per year. Within Centra Lynchburg is the Centra Stroobants Heart Center, a nationally recognized, dedicated chest pain center. With a patient satisfaction rate of 80 percent, find affordable treatments at this hospital for vascular operation, spinal fusion, and disk surgery.
- Centra Southside Community Hospital—Farmville, VA
Located in the small community of Farmville, this full-service hospital serves an eight-county region. Also one of the three hospitals organized by Centra Health, Centra Southside originated in 1925 as an experiment in providing quality healthcare in a rural setting. The hospital boasts newly redesigned, all-private rooms and a wide range of services, including a same day surgery suite and lithotripsy (a state-of-the-art technology for disintegrating kidney stones). The services provided by Centra Southside yield a patient satisfaction rate of just 60 percent, but patients can find affordable treatments for tuberculosis and heartburn here.
- Prince William Medical Center—Manassas, VA
A member of the non-profit Novant Health organization, Prince William Medical Center serves Northern Virginia with a campus containing a 170-bed acute care hospital, a behavioral health facility, and fitness and wellness centers. The medical center earned a patient satisfaction rate of 69 percent and was awarded the United States Senate Productivity and Quality Award for Virginia. In addition, Prince William was the first hospital in Virginia to receive certification for both knee and hip joint replacement by the Joint Commission. Prince William Medical Center provides a wide range of services and offers affordable treatments for heart attack and blood clots in the legs.
- Riverside Regional Medical Center—Newport News, VA
Riverside Regional Medical Center has served the Virginia Peninsula since 1916 and moved to its present location in Newport News in 1963. The now 72-acre campus is comprised of a 450-bed hospital, an emergency department, and a Level II trauma center. Riverside Regional boasts computer-driven medical facilities and a healing atmosphere, as well as a progressive Heart Center. In addition, Riverside Regional takes pride in its neonatal and birthing units and intensive cancer care center. Affordable treatments are available for angioplasty and heart muscle infection, and 69 percent of patients report satisfaction with the medical center.
- Twin County Regional Hospital—Galax, VA
Built by citizens of Carroll County, Grayson County, and the city of Galax who recognized the need for affordable healthcare within their communities, Twin County Regional was planned and built starting in 1969. Today, this 141-bed general medical and surgical hospital includes acute care, outpatient care, and emergency services. The hospital serves an estimated 60,000 residents within a 100-mile radius, including a large Medicare patient population. Accredited by the Joint Commission, Twin County Regional attains a patient satisfaction rate of 67 percent and offers affordable treatment for stroke.
|Ranking||Hospital Name||Location||Most Affordable for Common Diagnoses/Treatments Such As:||Patient Satisfaction|
|1||Martha Jefferson Hospital||Charlottesville||Congestive heart failure, fainting, appendicitis||85%|
|2||Augusta Health||Fishersville||Stroke, pneumonia, asthma||69%|
|3||Winchester Medical Center||Winchester||Parkinson’s, high blood pressure, internal bleeding||77%|
|4||Rockingham Memorial Hospital||Harrisonburg||Pacemaker implantation, emphysema, hernia||70%|
|5||Virginia Hospital Center||Arlington||Shingles, seizure, cardiac catheterization||85%|
|6||Centra Lynchburg General Hospital||Lynchburg||Vascular operation, spinal fusion, disk surgery||80%|
|7||Centra Southside Community Hospital||Farmville||Tuberculosis, heartburn||60%|
|8||Prince William Medical Center||Manassas||Heart attack, blood clots in the legs||69%|
|9||Riverside Regional Medical Center||Newport News||Angioplasty, heart muscle infection||69%|
|10||Twin County Regional Hospital||Galax||Stroke||67%|
Learn more about options for health insurance options in Virginia.
Affordability: Using CMS Medicare Provider Charge Data, we first determined the 50 largest hospitals in Virginia (of 76 total) by calculating the total number of Medicare patient discharges per year. We then calculated which of these 50 has the lowest price for each of the 100 most common medical procedures, and then summed the number of times that each hospital had the lowest price. 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 rates 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.
Virginia flag photo courtesy of Shutterstock.