A campaign promise and market forces are placing mounting pressure on healthcare providers to give meaningful price and quality information to patients.
Boosting price transparency is one of the few specific healthcare reform proposals President Donald Trump made during the 2016 election campaign and healthcare finance executives are bracing for the challenge.
Now that he is in office, "transparency in healthcare is not going away. It is not a flavor of the month," says Amy Floria, CFO at Goshen Health in Indiana.
But efforts by individual states to advance price and quality transparency by providers have gained little traction across the country. Last summer, the vast majority of states received failing grades in a report card on transparency laws published by a pair of nonprofits—the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute and Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR).
There are compelling reasons to strive for price and quality transparency in the healthcare industry on a national level, says Suzanne Delbanco, PhD, executive director of CPR, which is based in Berkeley, CA.
"One is the impact that it can have on the healthcare marketplace, and the other is to provide practical information for individual consumers who need to make decisions."
On a national scale, she says, having a price and quality information tool "would allow us to see variation both across and between markets for quality and price. It would potentially support greater competition because it is possible that healthcare providers would no longer view competitors in their local market as the benchmark for pricing and look further afield."
'It Is Not Easy'
But the challenges involved in establishing price and quality transparency at healthcare providers are daunting.
Christopher Cheney is the senior clinical care editor at HealthLeaders.