EHP Blog

From Prisoner to Customer to Sophisticated Consumer (We interrupt our previous segment to bring you important news)

Dear Healthcare Consumer-

Pay attention! This is very important. On June 23, 2020, a federal judge ruled against the American Hospital Association in their lawsuit attempting to block an HHS rule for pricing transparency. (In all likelihood the AHA will appeal the ruling).

This is shockingly important for several reasons! First and most obvious is it’s a “baby step” forward for healthcare consumers. During a time when transparency is ubiquitous in all areas of our lives, the bastion of healthcare remains steadfast in its unwillingness to share information of any sort without a battle. What this legislation provides for, as we’ll explain in more detail later, is really a small, small, step toward “real” pricing transparency. But it is a step forward.

Secondly, in the words of some wise person, “don’t listen to what I say but watch what I do.” Pricing transparency rhetoric has been coming out of the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association for at least 10 years. Believe it or not pricing transparency was included in the Obamacare legislation(The Affordable Care Act) in 2010. There’s been much bravado and chest thumping as to the importance this is to the American consumer. But rather that initiate any initiatives it took an act of Congress (Hospital Price Transparency and Disclosure Act of 2018) to get the ball rolling. Then after passage of the legislation the industry leaders fought in court to prevent the legislation from being implemented.

A prudent consumer would ask the question “what the hell are they hiding?” and “why are they so concerned about hiding it?” Think about this for a minute. The majority of hospital providers in this country are community resources operating under tax exemption statutes because of the alleged  “community benefit” being provided to the communities being served. So why do these hospitals act like Apple and Microsoft in some kind of corporate battle to the death?

If you read any of the media stories regarding the pricing transparency legislation and pay particular attention as to the “reasons” being provided by hospitals to not cooperate, they boarder on the absurd and at times seem just  plain stupid.

We have declared this initiative as a “baby step” in the world of healthcare transparency because initially there is so little context and education to help the consumer understand the information and more importantly to be able to connect quality to the prices.

A leading healthcare periodical has presented a “Myth of Health Care Consumerism” position. The basis for this argument is the vast preponderance of healthcare is emergent and unplanned and people don’t “shop” for healthcare in the conventional way they shop for other consumer goods such as cars, appliances, homes, college, etc. We believe healthcare shopping is going to follow a similar trajectory as the home personal computer. While at the beginning, many people didn’t understand the need or utility of a home computer, today the story is much different. In addition, as people became educated on using this technology then along came the smartphone so people could take the technology with them wherever they went.

We strongly believe as consumers become more health educated about different healthcare options and services price and quality shopping are sure to follow. Here’s an example available in Plano, TX today.

See Advancedbodyscan.com, this company is providing preventative scans for heart, heart and lung and whole body. On their website it says, “to detect illnesses such as heart disease and cancer months or even years before symptoms may appear to help put You in control of Your health.” Oops so much for unscheduled healthcare visits. And we are only at the early stages of these type of services.

We will continue to provide updates and sources of information to enable you to be better able to utilize this upcoming source of information.



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