Transparency in Healthcare Time for ASCs to lead BY LEAH BINDER

People, today, expect back- ground information on nearly every good or service they seek, and that includes healthcare services. In the

last century, we did not have the mea- sures or systems in place to compare health providers, but that has changed in the digital age. Today, we have a bur- geoning science of quality measurement alongside accelerating growth of pub- lic reporting in a wealth of online tools and resources. Moreover, patients them- selves are increasingly likely to seek out those tools. More than 40 percent of Americans have high-deductible health plans that require them to pay for more of their care out of pocket, accord- ing to the January–September 2017 National Health Interview Survey. That accelerates interest in compari- son tools and requires transparency. There is no turning back. Now, policymakers are taking no-

tice. Not much happens on a biparti- san basis in Washington, DC, but the movement for transparency appears to unite those on both sides of the aisle. There are significant propos- als afoot that could change the land- scape of healthcare as we know it. I urge ASCs to watch this trend and bring their unique perspective toward its advancement. The movement accelerated one

year ago, when the Senate Commit- tee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held a hearing on “Reducing Health Care Costs: Exam- ining How Transparency Can Lower Spending and Empower Patients.” I was pleased to testify along with ASCA member Ty Tippets, adminis- trator of the St. George Surgical Cen- ter. Since then, the Senate HELP Com- mittee has been actively engaged in

pushing the transparency agenda for- ward on Capitol Hill. Most recently, the Senate HELP Committee’s leadership on transpar- ency came in the form of a bill titled Lower Health Care Costs Act. This bill gets the most attention for putting protections in place for consumers to help end surprise medical bills and addressing prescription drug prices. The bill advances certain key issues with significant impact on transpar- ency, including establishing a national all-payer claims database that would help us track and report important uti- lization trends and quality data. The Trump administration also has

advanced transparency in healthcare. In June, the President issued an exec- utive order (EO) calling for improved price and quality transparency across the US healthcare system. I continue to express concern that past efforts by the administration to modify pub- lic reporting of quality information


have focused on removing, rather than expanding, the availability of quality information patients need and deserve. This EO is an opportunity to move forward with a more productive approach, providing critical infor- mation on pricing, patient safety and quality for patients, purchasers, pay- ers and providers.

ASC administrators have a leader-

ship role to play, should they choose to take it on. ASCs are in the front lines for innovative reforms in the health- care industry, and they don’t seem afraid of public scrutiny if

it means

they can compete in an open market- place. ASCs are far ahead of other health sectors in putting forward their prices, and many publicize their qual- ity as well. A surprising number have already shown their commitment to transparency by participating in the inaugural Leapfrog Ambulatory Sur- gery Center Survey this year—show- ing that ASCs will step forward to

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