News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Flashpoint

August 21, 2013

FLASHPOINT: Indiana hospitals embrace notion of price transparency

TERRE HAUTE — Following the federal government’s release of data on hospital charges for Medicare patients, much has been written nationally about how health care providers determine prices, the variation in charges for the same procedure and the willingness of hospitals to “come clean” on the issue of price transparency.

As president of the Indiana Hospital Association, representing 164 Hoosier hospitals and health systems, we fully embrace price transparency. Our members welcome the opportunity to help patients better understand the costs associated with the round-the-clock care they need, the quality of our care, as well as the value all patients receive when seeking treatment — no matter how severe their situation.

The cost of treatment is difficult to measure, made complex over the years because of the system created by the government for patients who receive their health care through Medicare and Medicaid benefits — often at costs that far exceed what is paid to hospitals. The demands for discounts by private insurance companies create further complexity for hospitals and patients to determine the true cost of any given procedure.

Most importantly, however, is the fact that each patient is unique. A procedure performed on a 27-year-old, otherwise healthy male will likely cost less than the same procedure performed on a 57-year-old male who is overweight and diabetic.

Meanwhile, the rate of care for which hospitals are not compensated at all continues to grow. In 2011, Indiana hospitals provided nearly $3 billion in uncompensated care for the uninsured and underinsured. Shifting these costs has long been part of our complex health care system. Thus, what hospitals charge rarely reflects how much hospitals are ultimately reimbursed by government or private insurers.

Despite these difficulties, moving toward price transparency is a priority. Already, the Indiana Hospital Association and its members are working to find the best solution. That solution must include cooperation from private insurers and the business community without whom health care providers are unable to report accurate pricing information to consumers.

Nevertheless, the word “transparency ” is nothing new for Indiana’s health care industry. Hoosier hospitals have for many years embraced greater transparency of their quality reporting. In 2001, the Institute of Medicine released a comprehensive report on health care quality measures. The report revealed inconsistent care and a lack of evidence-based practices across the country, leading the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to release quality measures on all hospitals. This effort at improving quality transparency was embraced by hospitals and has revolutionized the focus on quality and patient safety.

Achieving greater price transparency will take time, effort and commitment from all parties involved to make the necessary changes to our systems, to our payer contracts and to our bills. And this effort will not eliminate the complexity of providing medical care to human beings. Nor will it eliminate the demands that continue to cause health care spending to grow. Price transparency is just one piece of the health care puzzle, but an important and critical one that must be addressed.

Despite the progress Indiana hospitals have made by improving quality, and the work begun to ensure price transparency for patients, are we where we need to be? No, but we are getting closer. By working with private insurers so consumers get a complete picture of their out-of-pocket charges, and collaborating with the business community to report that information, together, we may finally succeed in delivering the health care system that Hoosiers deserve.

Douglas J. Leonard is president of the Indiana Hospital Association.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Flashpoint
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Raw: Plane Lands on New York Highway Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Raw: 16 Killed in Gaza Market Strike Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando Wisc. Twins Celebrate a Century of Laughter LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Harding Love Letters Now Open to Public Bull Run Comes to Middle America Raw: Guinea Rap Concert Stampede Kills 33+ Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers
NDN Video
Heartwarming 'Batkid Begins' Documentary is Tear-Jerker Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show'
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity