From Rick Pollack, President and CEO of the American Hospital Association.
The AHA appreciates the Administration’s efforts to promote health care transparency on price and quality, and looks forward to more details as proposals are put forth. America’s hospitals and health systems strongly support equipping patients with the information they need to make informed decisions about their care and its cost.
Hospitals are committed to helping patients navigate their health benefits through the use of in-person counselors, who help them understand their coverage and evaluate any relevant financial assistance options. And, more and more, hospitals also are developing web-based tools so that patients can easily search for this information online.
At the same time, consumers base their health care decisions not only on cost and quality but also on recommendations from their physicians, availability of specialized services and reputation, among others. Moreover, consumers say they are most interested in what their out-of-pocket costs for care will be, what is covered by their health plan, which providers are in their networks and what their health plan’s cost-sharing obligations are in terms of their deductible and coinsurance.
While details are being developed, it’s important to note that hospitals already provide consumers with information on pricing, but publicly posting privately negotiated rates could, in fact, undermine the competitive forces of private market dynamics, and result in increased prices.
The AHA also stands ready to continue to work with the Administration on aligning quality measurement requirements across the federal government to help focus on the measures that best improve health and outcomes.
We look forward to working with the agencies as they develop specific plans with the ultimate goal of helping consumers better navigate their care.