Is the Cost of Care Justified? Can we do better?
Unlike other services and products, healthcare in general and hospital care specifically have historically lacked accountability and transparency for the cost of heath care services. When it comes to healthcare services we are unaware of the cost of the care until we receive the bill. With increasing co-pays and other expenses, it is more important for us as consumers to have an understanding of the value of the health care service we receive. While this may not be possible or advisable in some situations, i.e. emergency care and need for very specialized care, many situations do lend themselves to decision making based on value. We as consumers need access to information of the value of health care services to make informed decisions.
The State of Maryland has established such a system and has experiences cost escalation of health care services that is lower than the national average without compromise of healthcare outcomes. John Hopkins Hospital has continued to be the top ranking hospital in the nation if not the world, operating in such a system. The cost of medical services are available on the state website.
What if hospitals and other healthcare providers provided the consuming public prices of services that are relevant to patients?
What if our region and state adopted an all payer system, where all the stake holders agree on the charges for common services in a transparent manner?