Senators Seek Input on Health Costs and Transparency

Date of Publication March 6, 2018

Senator Grassley recently joined a bipartisan coalition in signing a letter seeking stakeholder input regarding healthcare prices and information transparency. In seeking this information, the coalition cited data showing that healthcare spending in the United States is nearly twice that of other industrialized counties. The Senators indicated that they are interested in real-world experience and evidence-based policies as they look to craft a policy to increase price and information transparency.

Among the policy solutions the coalition is seeking feedback on, are several state-based policies that have been enacted around the country as a means to increase cost and information transparency. These include All Payer Claims Databases (APCDs), requiring insurers to publish reimbursement rates for the most frequently reported services, and requiring providers and facilities to publish pricing for the most common procedures and services. In 2015, the ad hoc IMS Data Task Force examined several of these means of increasing data transparency. In their final report, the Romano Report, the Task Force expressed a need for caution around such policies given the political and competitive considerations associated with publishing such data.

The State of Iowa currently requires hospital reporting of inpatient, outpatient, and ambulatory data through a contract with the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA). The State does not have a similar reporting requirement for non-facility providers, nor does it have the internal capacity to facilitate the level of data reporting and analytics that are currently provided by IHA. Were Iowa to move forward with an APCD, the state would likely look to contract this work out to an entity like IHA that does have the internal expertise to facilitate the work.

Physicians and clinic administrators are encouraged to review the coalition letter and provide their feedback to the questions and policy measures raised. Feedback is due March 23, 2018. You may provide your input directly to the coalition. IMS will be preparing formal comments to submit on behalf of the physician community. If you wish to provide input for consideration as IMS crafts its organizational feedback, please contact Dennis Tibben with the IMS Center for Physician Advocacy.

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