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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 nameCityStateOR total costsExplore dataset
1NewYork-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical CenterNew YorkNY$746.3 MExplore
2Mayo Clinic Hospital - Saint Marys CampusRochesterMN$452.7 MExplore
3Massachusetts General HospitalBostonMA$391.2 MExplore
4Hospital for Special SurgeryNew YorkNY$357.5 MExplore
5UCSF Helen Diller Medical Center at Parnassus HeightsSan FranciscoCA$318.2 MExplore
6Lenox Hill HospitalNew YorkNY$302.4 MExplore
7Houston Methodist Hospital (FKA the Methodist Hospital)HoustonTX$296.3 MExplore
8Tisch HospitalNew YorkNY$295.9 MExplore
9University HospitalAnn ArborMI$283.6 MExplore
10Stanford Hospital - 300 Pasteur DrStanfordCA$283.4 MExplore
11Vanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleTN$261.3 MExplore
12Yale New Haven HospitalNew HavenCT$249.0 MExplore
13The Mount Sinai Hospital (AKA Mount Sinai Medical Center)New YorkNY$248.7 MExplore
14AdventHealth Orlando (FKA Florida Hospital Orlando)OrlandoFL$247.3 MExplore
15Inova Fairfax Hospital (AKA Inova Fairfax Medical Campus)Falls ChurchVA$233.7 MExplore
16Cleveland Clinic Main CampusClevelandOH$223.5 MExplore
17Memorial Hermann - Texas Medical CenterHoustonTX$222.2 MExplore
18UAB HospitalBirminghamAL$219.3 MExplore
19The University of Kansas HospitalKansas CityKS$208.5 MExplore
20IU Health Methodist HospitalIndianapolisIN$207.4 MExplore

Fig. 1 – Data from the Definitive Healthcare HospitalView product, according to the most recent 12-month interval tracked in our database. Data is sourced from the October 2022 Medicare Cost Report release. Accessed November 2023.

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 $746 million. Mayo Clinic Hospital – Saint Mary’s Campus has the second highest total operating room costs with just over $453 million, and Massachusetts General is in third place with nearly $391 million.

Overall, the 20 hospitals on this list spent nearly $6 billion on total operating room costs. The average total operating room costs for hospitals on the list is $302 million.

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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