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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Transparency Legislation - How Will It Help?
10/29/2007

Click to listen to the taped broadcast.

I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Heath Care Report.”

The Texas Legislature recently passed a bill designed to help consumers comparison-shop for health care.

In the past, if you wanted to find out the cost of a medical procedure, you had to call the hospital’s billing department. In order to compare the price with those of competing hospitals, you had to call each individual hospital and repeat the process. This can be a daunting, time consuming ordeal.

This new legislation, which became effective Sept. 1, is designed to increase the public availability of health care cost and quality data. It calls for transparency in pricing by health insurers, hospitals, physicians, and other health care professionals.

The bill directs the Texas Department of State Health Services to create a consumer guide to health care on its website, DSHS.state.tx.us. This online guide will include information about pricing practices and charge comparisons for hospitals and other health care centers.

The bill also requires the Texas Department of Insurance to collect and share billing information, coverage areas, plan costs and premium increases with the consumer. In addition, insurance plans will be required to report the adequacy of their physician network and where they are spending your premium dollars.

Texas Health Resources applauds the legislature for taking this important step. The legislation will help employers, employees, and patients access health care information such as medical service costs and out-of-pocket expenses. It will give you, as a consumer, the information you need to make more informed decisions about your health care.

For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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