Tenn. hospitals put prices online

Bowing to the pressures created by the consumer-driven healthcare trend, the Tennessee Hospital Association has created a website offering service prices for most of its 136 member hospitals. The site, which draws on data reported to the state from October 2003 to September 2004, list average prices for common procedures. HCA hospitals aren't included in the tally, but the site does link to HCA's own price disclosure sites. (HCA recently decided to disclose prices for common procedures at all of its hospitals.) The THA is following the lead not only of hospitals, but of sites run by insurers such as BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, which have also begun posting price information on the Web. The THA website doesn't address hospital quality ratings, but it does link to HHS's quality rating site Hospital Compare.

To get more background on the hospitals' plans:
- read this piece from The Tennessean