WA gets federal grant for price transparency initiative

The Washington Health Care Authority will partner with the Puget Sound Health Alliance (PSHA) to launch a price transparency initiative, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported.

The Washington State Office of Financial Management will open a new data center to gather medical claims information statewide, which PSHA will manage. The state received a $3.4 million grant from the federal government to fund the project.The state insurance commissioner will also use funds from the two-year grant to regulate insurance premiums. 

Price transparency has been a growing issue in healthcare finance in recent years, as costs continue to increase. Efforts were spurred further by journalist Steven Brill's Time magazine article earlier this year that concluded hospitals only rely on their chargemasters to bill uninsured patients at the highest rates, FierceHealthFinance previously reported. 

A recent study by researchers at the University of Chicago concluded that price transparency brings down the cost of elective procedures, such as hip replacements, by at least 7 percent, and that patients are more likely to use a less expensive hospital for the procedure if they have price data.

To learn more:
- read the Puget Sound Business Journal article
- here's the University of Chicago study (.pdf)

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