14 organizations lead the price transparency charge

As the number of price transparency initiatives and organizations continues to pick up steam, George Washington University (GWU) has created a list of the 14 most influential organizations in that realm.

GWU's School of Public Health noted that price transparency in healthcare may be one of the keys to controlling the cost of healthcare in the long-term, and perhaps "essential to the long-term fiscal stability of the United States."

Among the organizations on the GWU list are the American Board of Internal Medicine's "Choosing Wisely" initiative; Castlight Health; Catalyst for Payment Reform; FAIR Health, New York state's transparency initiative; the Healthcare Bluebook; and the Health Care Financial Management Association's (HFMA) price transparency task force.

"Some of these organizations create resources that help providers have a frank discussion about prices with their patients. Some educate patients regarding the extreme variation in healthcare pricing and help them compare prices before pursuing a treatment plan," GWU noted in its article. "Others are dedicated to ensuring that data--once it has been made transparent--is accessible, contextualized and comprehensible."

James Landman, the HFMA's director of healthcare finance policy, told GWU that "the most significant factor that has changed the discussion on price transparency is the rapid growth in high-deductible health plans in both employer-sponsored insurance and plans offered on the exchanges." He also noted that cost-shifting of many medical procedures over to individual consumers has created a greater need for price transparency as well.

"Employers, who are working to manage the cost of providing health insurance to their employees, are also very interested in tools that can direct employees to higher value providers," he said.

Those organizations still have a vast amount of work ahead of them in order to make price transparency an everyday part of healthcare delivery. Most states still receive failing grades for their price transparency efforts, and few consumers can obtain their actual out-of-pocket costs for pricey procedures such as surgeries. Even states that mandate transparency, such as Massachusetts, still have significant gaps in available data.

- read the GWU article