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Hospital can make big money from disease management classes

Consumers, be sure to check the price before you sign up

Hospital can make big money from disease management classesOn its face, it makes sense. Invest in a class to help manage a chronic condition like diabetes.

But a Georgia man attended two half-day sessions at St. Mary’s Hospital in Athens, Ga., and was shocked to get a bill for $1,044.

Such classes have become revenue generators for hospitals, as well as an opportunity for marketing and branding, according to a story by Kaiser Health News.

“If you can get 25 in the class and charge $500 each, you can make a lot of money,” Gerard Anderson, a professor of health policy and management Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School Public Health told KHN. And the classes tend to bring “people into the hospital that they expect will need the hospital in the future.”

It’s worth noting that the classes can help reduce health care costs down the line, especially for costly diseases like diabetes. Education about diet and other habits that can help patients maintain their health, saving money in the long term.

But in some cases, the costs keep people away, or they find themselves with unexpectedly high bills afterward. KHN found one of the most expensive classes in Washington state: $1,700 for a 71/2-hour class on diabetes self-management.

Ever taken a hospital health class? Was the cost manageable? Ever been surprised by another health care bill?

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