6 cities where healthcare spending is well above average

One of the poorest states in the nation is also one of the most expensive when it comes to healthcare delivery, the (New Orleans)Times-Picayune reported.

Six of the 10 most expensive cities for delivering healthcare are located in Louisiana, according to the Times-Picayune. It cited data from a recent Institute of Medicine study regarding geographic variations in healthcare costs. and that every region of the U.S. emulate the practices of low-cost regional providers.

The cities of Monroe, Alexandria, Lafayette, Shreveport, Baton Rouge and Metairie had monthly spending on healthcare delivery that ranged between $163 and $229 above the national mean. McAllen, Texas and Miami are the two priciest cities in the U.S. in terms of delivering healthcare.

Louisiana is one of the poorest states in the U.S., with a median household income about 15 percent below the national average. Its poverty rate is nearly 30 percent higher than the national average.

The Times-Picayune noted that rates of obesity and chronic conditions may be driving some of the healthcare cost disparities in Louisiana. However, the costs of post-acute care are driving most of the cost discrepancy--in Baton Rouge, for example, it's $140 over the monthly national mean.

However, state officials concede that some of the costs may be driven by a fragmented delivery system in Louisiana. And fraud could also be playing a role, according to the Times-Picayune, although state officials deny that is occurring.

To learn more:
- read the Times-Picayune article
- here's the Institute of Medicine report