UPDATE: Gundersen, Mayo-Franciscan unveil price increases beginning Jan. 1

LA CROSSE, Wis. — La Crosse’s two health systems announced rate increases beginning Jan. 1.
The increases, unveiled in legal notices Friday in the La Crosse Tribune, amount to 4.5 percent in patient revenue for Gundersen Health System and an average of 2.75 percent price increase for Mayo Health System-Franciscan Healthcare hospitals in La Crosse and Sparta, according to the legal notices and a news release from Mayo-Franciscan.
The rate hikes are not across-the board for all hospital services, but rather, averages of procedures. Some will be higher and others, lower.

The legal notices detail some of the price details. For example, Gundersen’s rate for room and board and nursing care will rise from $1,385 this year for general, medical/surgical/gynecology to $1,447 — a 4.5 percent increase — beginning Jan. 1. For birthing rooms, the cost will rise from $1,375 to $1,478, for a 7.5 percent increase. Circumcisions will increase from $540 to $557, a 5 percent rise, according to the legal notice.

The COVID-19 pandemic propelled challenges for health systems, said Dr. Scott Rathgaber, CEO at Gundersen, who added, “ Gundersen entered the pandemic in a stable financial position, and we have fared better than most, but we are certainly not immune to the harsh reality the pandemic has created.”
Factoring in reimbursement contracts and government care programs, “the result is a 2.5% average rate adjustment across all Gundersen patients,” Rathgaber said, adding that the statewide average is 3% to 4%.
“Over the past three years, Gundersen has kept our rate increases below 2% and significantly below state average increases in a conscious effort to control our cost of care,” he said. “It is an unfortunate reality that the pandemic has increased our expenses and required a pause in this approach.”
Noting that pandemic effects probably will continue at least through the first half of 2021, Rathgaber said, “We must continue to improve efficiency and productivity, modestly increase our revenue and support our dedicated staff, who have heroically stepped up to this unprecedented challenge.”
Meanwhile, at Mayo, the price for room and board and nursing care, medical/surgical and some other care levels will increase from $1,914 to $1933, for a 1 percent rise, according to Mayo-Franciscan’s legal notice.

Labor and delivery will rise from $3,851 to $4,044, and circumcision, from $402 to $422, both of which are 5 percent increases.
Mayo-Franciscan’s increase mirrors the 2020 hike but is lower than in recent years. It also marks the third consecutive year rising prices have not increased from the previous year, according to a Mayo-Franciscan news release.
For example:
• On Jan. 1, 2019, the increase was 3 percent.
• The average rate change for the two facilities between 2010 and 2020 has been 3.93 percent.
• The 2.75 percent represents the second-smallest change implemented in the past 10 years.
“Mayo Clinic Health System works to meet the needs of its patients while at the same time providing value with the care that it delivers,” said Julie Hansen, chief financial officer of the Mayo Clinic Health System in Wisconsin.
Similar to previous rate changes, 2021 will see instances where the charges for some services will decline.
However, Hansen noted that external cost pressures from a variety of sources require adjustments. Those factors include drug costs and competition for staff.