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HL20: Steven Sonenreich—Talking Transparency

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, December 2, 2013

In our annual HealthLeaders 20, we profile individuals who are changing healthcare for the better. Some are longtime industry fixtures; others would clearly be considered outsiders. Some are revered; others would not win many popularity contests. All of them are playing a crucial role in making the healthcare industry better. This is the story of Steven Sonenreich.

This profile was published in the December, 2013 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

"It makes no sense that vendors are able to charge different hospitals different rates for the same products."

From Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Fla., Steven Sonenreich isn't afraid of making waves. He shocked many, including another health system CEO, during a radio talk radio show a few months ago by announcing that his health system would start publishing what it charges commercial insurers for procedures—something new that might make healthcare better or at least more affordable.

"We will post our prices relative to Blue Cross and Aetna, our contractual prices," said Sonenreich, during an appearance on WLRN 91.3-FM. He challenged other hospitals to do the same.

"We've all seen the cost of insurance rising at such an alarming rate, and that has caused the expense to the employer and the employee—in terms of employee contributions, deductibles, and copays—to also rise dramatically, and that's of great concern to me as an employer," he says.

The radio show visit was in the wake of the decision by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to release individual hospital reimbursement rates that, for the first time, allowed independent analysts to compare reimbursement rates among hospitals and health systems across the country, at least on Medicare and Medicaid.

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