California's Comparison Shopping for Surgeons

New state Web site lets potential patients do just that

By Jackson West
|  Friday, May 22, 2009  |  Updated 1:15 PM PDT
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New site lets you kick the tires and compare prices for common surgical procedures.

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You could save 50 percent on a heart bypass if you go to Sutter Memorial instead of the UC Davis Medical Center, according to a new state database.

Health officials introduced a Web tool that allows patients to compare prices, experience and average hospital stay for a number of common surgeries.

So if you're in the market for a new heart valve, or want to trade in your gallbladder, it may pay to do a little window shopping first.

The numbers don't necessarily represent the cost to your insurer, but the average cost charged to patients with no insurance -- which are generally higher.

The database does not include pricing data for Kaiser Permanente, but does detail procedures performed and average stay.

Jackson West wonders how much it costs to treat a case of sticker shock.

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