By Jill Zorn
Catalyst for Payment Reform and the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute (HCI3) released their third report card on price transparency, and our state, along with 44 others, received a failing grade.
However, with the passage of new state law SB 811, and continued efforts to build Connecticut’s All Claims Data Base (APCD), there is hope that Connecticut’s price transparency grade will start to improve.
With consumers on the hook more and more for the cost of their care because of high deductible health plans, knowing the price of at least some procedures (the ones you can plan for) is becoming more relevant.
One study cited in a recent Modern Healthcare article found that, “80 percent of respondents listed price transparency as a factor in choosing a healthcare provider—on par with bedside manner. And 79 percent said they’d be more likely to pay their bills in a timely manner if they had price estimates before getting care.”
It’s important that consumers have access to data about quality and safety, too, when they are making a decision to choose a health care provider. Unfortunately, Connecticut also received an F on the most recent state report card on physician quality. And, as we have reported previously, Connecticut hospitals are nowhere near making the honor roll with their quality grades.
While greater price and quality transparency may be important to consumers, it is also crucial if we are going to make a concerted effort to improve health care safety and affordability in Connecticut. To do that, we need baseline information about the cost and quality of procedures. With that information in hand, providers can be held accountable by purchasers and by the public for making improvements.
The regular availability of this information means that physicians and hospitals can more easily set goals to improve and measure their progress over time. In fact, evidence shows that when transparency reveals wide variation in health care price and quality, providers become motivated to close the gap.
Information is power! Let’s hope Connecticut moves forward quickly to improve our health care transparency grades.