Nancy Guinto, Executive Director of the Washington Health Alliance (WHA), testified before the US Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Committee last week about how price transparency initiatives can increase value in health care. Three key takeaways:
- Congress should create incentives to align stakeholder interests in leveraging data to improve care value. Congress should look across public and private sectors to coordinate efforts to increase transparency.
- Congress should support federal agency efforts to increase transparency by promoting initiatives that tie cost, quality, and value together and by making access to data less burdensome.
- Congress should leverage existing networks that promote transparency, like regional health improvement collaborative, that already have the trust and support of local stakeholders and who are already working to make care improvements.
Those of us involved in the Jefferson County Healthcare Access Group (CHA) have struggled for a few years now to increase pricing transparency at Jefferson Healthcare. We have met with resistance every step of the way. Breakthroughs in the last year have led to citizens having a somewhat better understanding of the prices they face before they get into the hospital. We fully support the efforts of the Washington Healthcare Alliance.
It is clear to those of us involved in understanding the healthcare industry on a local level, that increasing centralization, decreasing independent medical providers, penalization of individual providers by Congressional funding mandates, and a lack of transparency are creating a system the more resembles a monopoly, costs more and does not necessarily provide better indices of health.
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