Oklahoma surgery center's transparency sparks price war

A surgery center in Oklahoma City that is dedicated to complete price transparency is apparently sparking a price war among some providers in the region, reported KFOR-TV.

The Surgery Center of Oklahoma began posting prices for about 100 procedures in 2009. The prices include all related services, such as anesthesiology.

"When we first started we thought we were about half the price of the hospitals," Steven Lantier, M.D., the Surgery Center's co-owner told KFOR. "Then we found out we're less than half price. Then we find out we're a sixth to an eighth of what their prices are."

According to KFOR, at least five other facilities in Oklahoma now post prices, although they all cater to specialty care, such as oncology or cardiac care and imaging. None of the state's acute care facilities post prices.

In an interview with FierceHealthFinance last year, G. Keith Smith, M.D., surgery center anesthesiologist and co-owner, said he intended to keep prices reasonable in order to encourage people to pay for them out of their own pockets. He also wanted to post prices to pressure competing hospitals to engage in more price transparency.

However, the Oklahoma Hospital Association (OHA) does not believe price transparency will migrate to its membership in the near future. "Where we can reveal information that's meaningful to the patient, we very much support that; that's what hospitals need to do," OHA President Craig Jones told KOFR. "The difficulty when you compare hospitals with surgery centers is that surgery centers, most of the work they do are elective procedures, which are a bit more predictable."

To learn more:
- read the KFOR report

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