“You should be able to walk into a provider’s office and say, ‘I want a copy’ — you are legally entitled to that,” said I. Glenn Cohen, a professor at Harvard Law School, noting that there were only a few exceptions, such as for prisoners. But the reality is that many hospitals and doctors have created a series of hurdles that must be cleared before patients can get their information. And many of those hurdles, experts say, are based on the economics of medicine.“The medical record is held hostage,” Professor Cohen said. “The reason is often to keep a customer or keep a patient from leaving the practice.”
It’s no secret that the price transparency movement has picked up speed and become increasingly complicated for all stakeholders. Though over 30 states have passed or proposed legislation to increase price transparency, and released median prices for specific services, many supporters of price transparency have pushed for more detailed data. Specifically, all amounts paid to every provider, for every service, so prices and trends can be tracked more definitively.
This past March, Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute HCI3 and Catalyst for Payment Reform CPR released their second annual Report Card on State Price Transparency Laws. Forty-five states failed and only two were awarded a B.
With these types of developments in mind, the George Washington University’s online master of public health, MPH@GW, recently released Illuminating Health Care Prices: Organizations to Watch, which profiles 14 organizations helping to achieve greater healthcare price transparency through policy as well as various initiatives, resources and tools. Since price transparency is a primary or subsidiary goal for myriad organizations and companies, the list isn’t intended to provide a comprehensive view of the price transparency landscape, but rather to explain the multifaceted hurdles and triumphs of the movement by taking a deep dive into the work that several of these organizations are doing.
Note: the original blog post that inspired this guest post is here: http://publichealthonline.gwu.edu/healthcare-price-cost-transparency/
an examination of the rating system by The New York Times has found that Rosewood and many other top-ranked nursing homes have been given a seal of approval that is based on incomplete information and that can seriously mislead consumers, investors and others about conditions at the homes.The Medicare ratings, which have become the gold standard across the industry, are based in large part on self-reported data by the nursing homes that the government does not verify. Only one of the three criteria used to determine the star ratings — the results of annual health inspections — relies on assessments from independent reviewers. The other measures — staff levels and quality statistics — are reported by the nursing homes and accepted by Medicare, with limited exceptions, at face value.
Indeed, it can be said that in no other country is as much oversight necessary—and performed—as it already is in the U.S. Here hospitals spend hundreds of millions, possibly billions, every year to be in compliance with government regulations, and government auditors and the Inspector General’s offices cost hundreds of millions more. Every U.S. hospital now has some executive vice president in charge of compliance, has a board subcommittee dealing with compliance and has a sizeable compliance department and confidential hotline for whistle blowers. There are a growing number of compliance consulting firms helping hospitals and clinics to remain in compliance with U.S. federal and state regulations, earning a fine living from the process—all at patients’ expense, of course. I have never encountered anything like it in other countries whose health systems I have studied.
Patients who document their end-of-life wishes using a special medical form get the specific care they want in their final days, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.The study by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University looked at the growing use of the voluntary form, called Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, or Polst. The document lets patients request or refuse certain medical treatments such as CPR or intensive care. The study is the largest on the topic so far and the first to look at preferences stated in the form and where people actually die.
As hospital, physician, and health insurance markets consolidate and change in response to health care reform, some commentators have called for vigorous enforcement of the federal antitrust laws to prevent the acquisition and exercise of market power. In health care, however, stricter antitrust enforcement will benefit consumers only if it accounts for the competitive distortions caused by the sector’s long history of government regulation. This article directs policy makers to a neglected dimension of health care competition that has been altered by regulation: the product. Competition may have failed to significantly lower costs, increase access, or improve quality in health care because we have been buying and selling the wrong things. Competition policy makers—meaning both antitrust enforcers and regulators—should force the health care industry to define and market products that can be assembled and warranted to consumers while keeping emerging sectors such as mHealth free from overregulation, wasteful subsidy, and appropriation by established insurer and provider interests.
This article examined the effects of state regulation and civil class-action litigation on corporate compliance with nurse staffing and quality standards, corporate strategies to manage staffing and quality, and corporate financial status of a large for-profit nursing home chain. A historical case study was used to examine multiple public data sources, focusing on facilities in California from 2003 to 2011 during and after regulatory actions and litigation. The results showed that the state issued numerous deficiencies for violations of the nurse staffing and quality standards with minimal impact on quality compliance with state law. A class action jury trial found the chain violated the state’s minimum staffing standard on one-third of the total days during a six-year period and awarded a $677 million verdict. A court settlement and supervised injunction resulted in compliance with minimum staffing and some improvement in quality measures, but quality levels remained below the average California facilities. The litigation also had some negative financial impact on Skilled’s California facilities and parent company. Civil litigation had more impact on the chain than the regulatory oversight.