UM Medical Center, Hopkins reduce other hospitals' costs

December 01, 2009

Not all hospitals are created equal. Sunday's article by Kelly Brewington and Jamie Smith Hopkins | The Baltimore Sun made several excellent points ("Pricey hospitals wary of reforms," Nov. 29). Johns Hopkins Hospital and the University of Maryland Medical Center are expensive. They are superior academic medical centers. They also welcome the most complicated and expensive medical challenges for a number of excellent reasons, and the results are equally excellent in many cases.

What was not emphasized in Sunday's piece is that other hospitals do not have to bear the substantial expense of treating these patients. They transfer the patient (and the cost) to the academic health centers.

Regionalization of complicated medical care concentrates resources to provide optimal care efficiently at a lower overall cost. Individual centers of excellence suffer in the analysis of individual balance sheets.Dr. Charles E. Wiles, Buffalo, N.Y.

The writer is a professor of surgery at the University of Buffalo.

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