Last night’s “60 Minutes” broadcast featured a lawsuit over the consolidation of a large health system in Northern California, which used its monopolistic capabilities to drive up the price of healthcare. The segment included KHC friend and past conference speaker Elizabeth Mitchell, CEO for the Pacific Business Group on Health, who talked about some of the components of hospital pricing.
“We have seen the data. It is the largest driver of healthcare cost increases. It’s hospital prices,” Mitchell said. “And they’re not providing more services. And the quality isn’t increasing. They are just charging more for the same thing. It is just the prices. And they do it because they can.”
The “60 Minutes” segment, although focused on one specific hospital system, was a perfect complement to the December KHC Community Health Forum, “Driving Affordability Through Hospital Price Transparency.” The event brought together national and local experts to examine the results of the 2020 National Hospital Price Transparency Study, conducted by the RAND Corporation and led by the Employers’ Forum of Indiana.
For the second year, the KHC highlighted the work that the RAND Corporation and Employers’ Forum of Indiana is doing with hospital price transparency. The most recent study, released a couple of months ago, revealed that costs employers paid to hospitals were well over twice that of what Medicare would pay for the same services and that there is large variation in price that does not correspond to variation in quality of care.
The KHC’s last forum of 2020 (otherwise known as The Year That Will Not End) featured study leaders, Kentucky data, employers, a hospital response, and strategies for solutions. The event was enlightening and thought-provoking. I encourage you to visit the event page for the recording, whether you missed the event or want to revisit one of the presentations and slide decks. Any hospitals that want to discuss the results or employers who want to participate in the next round of studies are encouraged to email Stephanie Clouser at email@example.com.