We’ve been talking about the importance of transparency at Captiva for a long time.

Over the past few months, the rest of the country seems to have caught up, as new legislation requiring chargemasters to be posted publicly went into effect at the start of the year. The legislation is part of a snowballing bipartisan conversation on better legislation to encourage healthcare transparency.

Back in November, Gary Kaplan (CEO of Virginia Mason Health System) shared in an editorial for Harvard Business Review:

“I believe it is impossible to have complete transparency with patients without first developing a strong culture of internal transparency — among all team members, at all levels, on all issues — throughout the health care organization itself.”

Kaplan continues to unpack the ways that transparency is important not just for pricing effectiveness, but also for safety.

A culture of secrecy in healthcare often enables the same mistakes to keep happening, over and over, rather than being brought to light and fixed.

He concluded:

“In the United States, we have more information than ever about how to provide appropriate, high-quality care and keep patients safe. Transparency with internal and external stakeholders is essential for quality, safety, accountability, and informed decision making.”

Washington shares Kaplan’s perspective. So far, 2019 has held bipartisan efforts to address drug pricing transparency. 

Several members of Congress selected guests for the State of the Union address who were victims of balance billing (surprise medical bills when insurance doesn’t cover what a patient expects) or drug price disputes.

The conversation is going all the way to the top, with President Trump himself committing to end the often devastating impact of surprise medical bills

The question that more and more hospitals and healthcare providers are beginning to ask is how the big picture of new legislation will trickle down.

The chargemasters that the government required to be made public earlier this year are, as we discussed, not actually a great point of reference for what the cost of care will actually be. Some hospital CIOs are addressing the problem by also implementing cost estimators for patients to use. This allows consumers to have a better sense of what to expect heading into a hospital visit.

Those small changes are going to save patients and benefit providers like you big money. A recent study out of the University of Michigan revealed that when New Hampshire launched a healthcare pricing transparency website, consumers saved 5% and benefit providers saved 4%.

That was just one small effort in one state, with the results tracked over a 5 years period. Longterm, with more widespread measures introduced, those savings could be even higher.

What all of this means is that the time for benefit models like the one Captiva has built has finally come.

2019 might be the year when we see transparency championed not just in providers following the Health Rosetta, but all over the country.

If you’re ready to get started now in bringing this level of transparency to your employees’ healthcare, we stand at the ready. Let’s talk.