MHA Comments on U.S. Senate Healthcare Transparency Initiative

Posted on April 09, 2018

U.S. Capitol BuildingThe MHA submitted comments to a bipartisan group of United States Senators in response to their request for information to improve healthcare transparency. The senators desire to increase healthcare price and information transparency to empower patients, improve the quality of healthcare, and lower healthcare costs. To assist in these efforts, the senators requested input from healthcare stakeholders on what healthcare price and transparency information is currently available, what should be available and who should be responsible for providing this information.

The MHA Board Price Transparency Task Force established in November provided input for three overarching themes in the MHA’s comment letter:

  • Healthcare transparency is comprised of both price and quality information.
  • Any initiative should produce outcomes that meet the needs of patients to make informed healthcare purchasing decisions, while not adding unnecessary burden and cost to stakeholders.
  • Total cost of care should be measured to demonstrate performance beyond individual encounters or specific services.

Key points covered in the comment letter included:

  • Healthcare quality information allows patients to have informed conversations with their doctors and make better healthcare decisions. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services healthcare provider compare tools offer quality information for various provider types and, with improvements, should serve as the principal source of healthcare quality information for consumers nationally. The MHA’s transparency website at VerifyMICare.org provides hospital-specific information on infections, safety and other quality measures and should serve as the principal source of hospital quality information for Michigan consumers.
  • To make informed healthcare purchasing decisions, patients need to know the cost they will be personally responsible for. Providers should work with health plans and others on transparency efforts to ensure patients have the information they need prior to obtaining services. Health plans, Medicare and Medicaid should serve as the principal source of information for their members’ out-of-pocket responsibility, while providers should serve as the primary source for patients who are uninsured or out-of-network.
  • Standardizing quality measures and reducing utilization for unnecessary or low-value services would reduce the overall cost of care and improve patients’ healthcare experience.

The senators plan future roundtable discussions with healthcare stakeholders as part of this initiative. Members with questions should contact Jason Jorkasky at the MHA.  


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  • MHA Comments on U.S. Senate Healthcare Transparency Initiative

Tags: transparency, VerifyMICare, price transparency

Posted in: Issues in Healthcare, Top Issues - Healthcare

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