Markford says he spent the next sev- eral months building the program. That included redesigning the ASC’s web site to display prices and determining appropriate prices for the procedures. “We basically created a spread- sheet that had numbers from the Healthcare Bluebook—essentially the Kelley Blue Book of health care— and data from ASCs throughout the country that published their procedure prices. By comparing these figures and taking our location into consider- ation, we calculated our figures. Then I determined how to divide the amount between our surgeons, anesthesiolo- gists and the facility.”

Target Patient Population OSCC launched the program in Sep- tember 2014. Markford says the bulk of the patients taking advantage of the cash model are those with high- deductible insurance plans. There are some patients who do not have insur- ance. OSCC is also seeing a growing trend of patients who are involved in health care sharing ministries—orga- nizations that share health care costs amongst members with similar reli- gious or ethical beliefs. “Since they support each other in their cost of health care, there is an incentive to find the provider with the best price and a predictable price,” he says. “But I believe the strongest market for this model is through partnerships with self-funded employers—compa- nies that are taking on 100 percent of their employees’ health care costs.” Piazza says that he is very pleased with the early success of the pro- gram. “When people look at what we are offering, it is a better option than agreeing to pay hospital bills without knowing what they include and do not include. We all need to do that in emer- gency situations, but in non-emergen- cies, having the ability to learn exactly what we are charging, that is light years

We saw price transparency as a way to do an upright thing for our patients and give them a more effective mechanism for shopping for their health care.”

— Michael Piazza, MD Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Clearwater

ahead of what our current health care system typically exposes people to.” Markford says


reverse of what one normally expects from the physician-ASC relationship.” The price transparency model used

program has

delivered across-the-board benefits. “The patients are loving it. Our sur- geons and anesthesiologists are getting paid faster and appreciate the fact that they receive good reimbursement with- out administration costs. I also think our physicians love that we are starting to send patients to them, which is the

by OSCC is likely to grow in popular- ity among ASCs, predicts Paul Ketchel, chief executive officer of MDSave, a Brentwood, Tennessee-based pro- vider of services that help consumers research and purchase health services. “A larger percentage of the patient population now has significant out- of-pocket expenses before their bene- fits kick in,” he says. “Those patients are increasingly shopping around and looking for better pricing.” Ketchel says ASCs should prove

attractive to those patients. “ASCs typ- ically have competitive pricing. They are in a position to win these surgery price comparisons if the patient can find the information on the ASC and understand the price up front. Not only are patients receiving a price usually lower than what they could find by

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