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Report: Most States Fail with Healthcare Price, Quality Transparency

November 8, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Most states fail to provide consumers with the information they need to make informed healthcare choices and even fewer provide data on the price and quality of care together, according to a new report.

The report, from independent organizations Altarum and Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR), concluded that in 49 out of 50 states, consumers are basically in the dark when it comes to making value-based healthcare decisions according to a new report on health care price and physician quality transparency.

For the past four years Altarum (previously the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute) and CPR published their joint price transparency and physician quality report cards at separate times during the year. This year, to reflect the growing importance of providing price and quality information in tandem, the organizations have combined the report cards into a single report.

“We continue to find that most states miss the mark in providing consumers with usable price and quality information,” François de Brantes, vice president and director of Altarum’s Center for Value in Health Care, said in a statement. “Only one state—Maine—scored above an F in both price and quality information. That means that in 49 out of 50 states, consumers are basically in the dark when it comes to making value- based health care decisions. But it also means that providing good information to consumers is possible and all states can get there. They need to have the will to do it.”

Drilling down, this year 43 states received an F for failing to meet even minimum price transparency standards. States that did make the grade are those with robust laws promoting and mandating price transparency that offer consumer-friendly, free websites with meaningful price, the report revealed. For price transparency, the states with passing grades were: Maine (A); New Hampshire (A); Maryland (B); Oregon (B); Colorado (C); Vermont (C); and Virginia (C).

Meanwhile, on the quality transparency front, 42 states received an F and no states improved in score from last year highlighting the need for significant progress to be made. States that scored well have independent, free websites for consumers with current data on a high percentage of physicians in the state. These websites contain quality measures that are meaningful to consumers and offer access to easily interpretable information, according to the report.

States with passing grades on quality transparency included: California (A); Minnesota (A); Maine (C); and Michigan (C).

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