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)

Related Articles:
Why doctors must discuss costly treatment before patients receive bills
Survey: Docs don't blame themselves for rising healthcare costs
NYT uncovers huge markups for saline bags
U.S. hospital maternity costs highest in the world
HFMA creates price transparency task force
Hospitals dismiss significance of chargemaster prices
29 states fail in healthcare price transparency
Hospitals dismiss significance of chargemaster prices

 

Suggested Articles

John Muir Health is joining forces with Optum as part of an effort to maintain its independence, the two companies announced. 

Clinical Pathology Laboratories, based in Austin, Texas, says 2.2 million patients may have had their personal information compromised.

A global budget model launched by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts slowed healthcare spending growth by 12% over eight years.