During a conversation about health care recently with WMFE, the chief executives of two major hospitals in Central Florida said making prices more transparent to patients is important, but the task itself is hard to accomplish.
Both Daryl Tol, the CEO of Florida Hospital, and David Strong, CEO of Orlando Health, cited several reasons why health care prices may never be as transparent as prices for other services.
“Part of it is the emergent nature of health care. If your child is injured or you’re injured, you don’t immediately search for price,” Strong said. “You want to receive care. The other is human beings are not widgets. It’s not like buying a car when someone has cancer or another disease process, you don’t know how that individual will respond to treatments or different therapies being used. Trying to set a price in advanced for certain things is impossible. Having said that, in health care, we definitely need to be more transparent.”
Tol said there are many entities operating within a hospital and each has their own billing service. Those entities have to work together to provide more transparency in billing, he said.
“And we’ve got to do it because transparency and understanding is critical, and bring together one pricing model across different entities providing care,” Tol said.
When asked if it is likely to happen soon, Tol said “It has to happen soon.”
To listen to the full interview, click here.
Health News Florida is also working to improve health care transparency. Last month, WLRN, WUSF and Health News Florida launched PriceCheck, a reporting project aimed at bringing clarity to the cost of health care in Florida.
You can help us untangle health care prices by checking out the PriceCheck tool, which will let you upload your prices and see what other people paid.
WMFE is a partner with Health News Florida, which receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.