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Analysis

Posting Self-Pay Prices Mitigated Costs For a Phoenix Hospital

By Jack O'Brien  
   May 07, 2018

A Phoenix health system instituted the first self-pay price transparency program in Arizona, outpacing the state legislature and recouping lost finances associated with an uninsured, self-pay population.

Providing a self-pay pricing tool to uninsured, low-income patients is a strategy that has been considered by public health experts and state legislatures across the country over the past decade, with one health system leading the way in Arizona.

Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS), a 578-bed safety-net provider commissioned a nine-month internal task force in 2012 culminating in the creation of “Copa Care,” a program that publishes self-pay prices on its website for the 10 most frequently requested inpatient and outpatient procedures. MIHS’ financial policy was finalized and fully implemented in March 2013, making MIHS the first system in Arizona to post their self-pay prices online.

By 2014, Arizona adopted similar legislation in the form of HB 2045, which required providers, including MIHS, to post direct pay prices for at least the 25 most common services on their websites or deliver price estimates on request.

Reasons: Configuring the scale

MIHS faced significant financial challenges through the early 2000s and voted to become a special healthcare district in 2004, receiving the designation of a federally qualified health center (FQHC) look-alike for outpatient services.

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Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


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