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Editor:

According to a recent survey by Ipsos and Consumers for Quality Care (CQC), consumers want clarity, more straight forward information and lower costs in their health care experience. Unfortunately, reading Kathleen Moore's Jan. 5 piece, “Hospitals disclose cost of procedures, actual costs remain unclear,” tells us that the new federal mandate for hospitals to publicly provide pricing information won’t deliver the actionable information consumers want and need to make decisions.

Between hard-to-find lists, pricing data that is provided in machine-friendly algorithms totally unreadable by consumers and the potentially hundreds of pages to scan through to pinpoint the procedure a consumer is interested in, there is little likelihood that the new rule will bring much help to the 74 percent of American consumers who report hospital fees and unexpected bills are the most frustrating thing about health care. While the rule isn’t yet producing consumer friendly results, the data is compelling and has already highlighted the wide variance in hospital pricing, with one hospital in Michigan charging $791,000 on average for a heart transplant, while a New York facility reports charging $1.7 million for the same procedure.

Based on our survey findings, CQC recently launched the Cut Consumer Costs campaign. This effort aims to shine a light on practices and procedures that should be changed to ensure higher-quality, lower-cost consumer health care and to provide some real tools consumers can use to take health care into their own hands. We urge hospitals, insurers and other health care industry leaders to provide information in ways that consumers can easily understand and act on. Consumers are looking to the health care sector to make real reforms that lower their costs without sacrificing quality.

Jason Resendez, Board Member, Consumers for Quality Care, Catharpin, Virginia

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