Money & Business

Florida Hospital Association Eyes Price Transparency With New Tool

By / Jan 20, 2016 (iStock/Thinkstock)

Mission to Care, a new online database released by the Florida Hospital Association last week, could help with one of the pain points for the state’s medical industry: a lack of clarity in healthcare pricing.

Whether you’re dealing with high blood pressure or about to start a family, a new tool from the Florida Hospital Association (FHA) could bring some clarity to the process before the medical bills come.

Last week, the association launched a website and database called Mission to Care, which highlights the costs of the 50 most-popular medical procedures at hospitals around the state. The website gathers information from a variety of resources, including:

  • Discharge data from Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration
  • Data from the Florida Hospital Uniform Reporting System
  • Hospital comparison ratings from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
  • Patient experience ratings from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems

“On the search page, consumers can search by hospitals, [as well as] the individual procedure or health condition such as cesarean section, high blood pressure, or hip, ankle or knee procedures,” explained Kim Streit, FHA’s vice president of healthcare research and information, in comments to WFSU.

The solution introduced by the association is an approach to an issue that’s quickly becoming a major talking point for the state’s medical industry—the fact that prices for medical procedures are often opaque.

We can do this quickly and without legislation.

Last year, Florida was one of 45 states to receive a failing grade based on its healthcare transparency laws, according to a report released [PDF] by the Catalyst for Payment Reform and Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute. Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who was once a healthcare executive, is among the advocates pushing for more healthcare transparency, and lawmakers are working on legislation to take on the issue.

But FHA’s tool is a good argument that an association can take the lead on a pressing regulatory problem.

“We can do this quickly and without legislation,” FHA President Bruce Rueben said of the issue, according to the Orlando Business Journal. “It’s a step forward as our state looks at how to move forward with the issue of transparency.”

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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