Information hospitals typically keep from patients

Hospitals are mysterious places that may keep information from patients, Marketplace has reported. Often those items directly impact healthcare finance and the cost of care.

Among the pieces of information that hospital staff won't tell patients:

  • The prices for procedures

  • Whether the patient's insurance plan will cover the care

  • C-sections are the preferred method of child deliveries

  • Hospital-acquired infections are not out of the question

  • Their doctor won't come to the hospital to treat them because it's not cost-efficient

  • Patients will almost certainly be overcharged for medication

  • Patients should have an advocate with them at all times

The lack of price transparency is well-documented. "It's like going to a car dealership and them saying, 'We're going to sell you a car, but we're not going to tell what it costs, how long it will run (or) what kind of equipment it has," Paul Levy, a former Boston hospital CEO who now blogs about the topic of hospital management, told Marketplace.

And despite the fact that scientific data tends to support waiting longer to deliver infants, hospitals support the use of C-sections because it frees up resources such as staffing and beds much quicker than waiting the hours or days for a vaginal birth to occur, according to the article. "It's an easy way out" for the hospital, Neel Shah, M.D., an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and an obstetrician/gynecologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, told Marketplace.

Navigating hospitals is an issue that's expected to increase in importance as healthcare delivery become more consumer-driven. Hospitals will also be rated more on patient satisfaction, according to NPR. Some institutions have gone so far as to issue special "patient passports" to faciliate better communication with their staffs.

Perhaps the most surprising issue was having a personal advocate on hand at all times. This person could serve as a crucial cost-control device, according to Marketplace

"If you don't, you can easily wind up on the back end with ruinous bills," Jeanne Pinder, CEO of, told Marketplace.

To learn more:
- read the Marketplace article
- check out the NPR article