Healthcare Insights

Hospitals with the highest operating room costs

Operating rooms (ORs) are a critical resource for hospitals as they provide the space and equipment to perform surgeries and other intensive procedures. While ORs typically generate a significant portion of a hospital’s revenue, the OR also tends to be one of the most expensive areas of the hospital.

Here are the hospitals that spend the most money on running their operating rooms.

Top 20 hospitals with the highest total operating room costs

RankHospital nameCityStateDefinitive IDOperating room total costs# of operating roomsExplore dataset
1NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical CenterNew YorkNY541974$647,727,267 37Explore
2Mayo Clinic Hospital - Saint Mary’s CampusRochesterMN2191$402,711,444 70Explore
3Massachusetts General HospitalBostonMA1973$364,760,696 70Explore
4Hospital for Special SurgeryNew YorkNY2840$342,021,443 21Explore
5UCSF Helen Diller Medical Center at Parnassus HeightsSan FranciscoCA560$316,787,691 28Explore
6Lenox Hill HospitalNew YorkNY2847$292,736,008 16Explore
7Tisch HospitalNew YorkNY2843$273,562,273 18Explore
8Houston Methodist HospitalHoustonTX4012$269,419,554 78Explore
9Stanford HospitalStanfordCA588$264,577,411 11Explore
10University HospitalAnn ArborMI2096$263,021,315 27Explore
11Vanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleTN3742$225,776,639 35Explore
12Mount Sinai Medical CenterNew YorkNY2837$221,421,542 58Explore
13Cedars-Sinai Medical CenterLos AngelesCA430$220,947,605 31Explore
14Yale New Haven HospitalNew HavenCT731$211,753,740 21Explore
15AdventHealth OrlandoOrlandoFL873$210,139,152 20Explore
16Inova Fairfax HospitalFalls ChurchVA4271$205,904,722 39Explore
17UAB HospitalBirminghamAL71$203,208,944 22Explore
18Memorial Hermann - Texas Medical CenterHoustonTX4018$187,037,987 39Explore
19University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonTX4017$183,464,372 30Explore
20Baptist Medical Center JacksonvilleJacksonvilleFL576749$183,426,290 16Explore

Fig. 1 – Data from the Definitive Healthcare HospitalView product. Operating room total cost is from the July 2022 Medicare Cost Report. Number of operating rooms is from Provider of Service file and proprietary research. Accessed August 2022.

Which hospitals spend the most on operating room costs? 

NewYork Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center spends the most on its ORs, with total operating room costs coming in at nearly $650 million. Mayo Clinic Hospital – Saint Mary’s Campus has the second highest total operating room costs with just over $402 million, and Massachusetts General is in third place with nearly $365 million.  

Overall, the 20 hospitals on this list spent nearly $5.5 billion on total operating room costs. The average total operating room costs for hospitals on the list is $274,520,305.

The wide variance in cost per operating room is not driven by any single factor.  Some drivers of operating room expense include highly specialized equipment, facility fees, types of surgery performed, and salaries for surgeons and anesthesiologists – all of which can vary greatly between state and even hospital network

Operating room expenses are one of the largest contributors to the total operating expenses for hospitals, and the average tends to be higher in the northeast, which might be why three of the top five hospitals on the list above are in New York and Massachusetts.  In fact, NewYork Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center also tops the list of hospitals with the highest total operating expenses.   

How many operating rooms do the hospitals with the highest operating room costs have? 

The average number of ORs for hospitals on the list is 20. In comparison, the average number of ORs in all active hospitals in the HospitalView product is seven.  

Interestingly, the number of ORs does not appear to correlate to higher total operating room costs. Hospitals with as many as 78 operating rooms to as few as 11 are included on the list. 

Why do hospitals spend so much money on operating rooms? 

The reasons behind why hospitals spend so much on operating rooms can vary. Some of the key expenses for operating rooms include salary costs, supplies, equipment and facility space. ORs require expensive equipment such as operating room tables, anesthesia machines, and other surgical devices that can add to the total hospital spend. Additionally, ORs need to be sanitized frequently for patient safety which can add to the expense.  

What is an operating room? 

An operating room, sometimes referred to as an OR, operating theater or surgical theater, is an area of a hospital where surgical procedures are carried out in a sterilized environment. An operating room typically contains medicines, equipment, and other supplies that surgeons and anesthesiologists need during an operation. ORs are designed with different specifications to meet the unique needs of a hospital and its patient populations. 

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