It all started at the dinner table in February, when Joseph Bernstein told his daughter (then in eighth grade!) about a study of how difficult it was for consumers to find out the cost of a hip replacement.
She was intrigued, and not just by the topic. The lead author of that study was a college undergraduate.
So the Bernsteins wondered: Could the research be followed up by someone just a tad younger?
Dad and daughter set to work.
Joseph Bernstein, a clinical professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, told his daughter that, in fairness to hospitals, it might be hard for them to quote the price of a hip replacement because the cost varies depending on the patient.
They decided that, instead, she should try asking 20 area hospitals for the price of an electrocardiogram (EKG), a generic procedure that should cost about the same regardless of the patient’s age and condition. Then, as a point of comparison, she would call them all again to ask for their parking rates.
Care to guess which phone calls went better?