3 ASC price transparency insights

Three ASC industry experts shared their insights on price transparency with Becker's ASC Review.

Three things to know:

1. Suzi Walton, administrator of the Ohio Surgery Center in Columbus:

"I think as the conversations rise to the federal level, the public is going to become more and more aware of site of service differentials. The public or payers will eventually force this conversation of cost savings. My hope is that ASCs are in front of this trend and ride the wave. I have been a price transparency advocate for over 20 years, but I feel that affordable technology that is creating true actionable data is finally here. This technology takes the human error out of giving estimates based on true allowables, not billed charges, and making it obtainable for any center that is wanting to embrace it."

2. Mara Holton, MD, of the Anne Arundel Medical Center:

"The question of price transparency is inextricably linked to the most pressing issue facing independent physicians today: the increasing rate of hospital consolidations and mergers, including acquisitions of independent practices across the country. The 2018 AMA Physician Practice Benchmark Study found a continued shift toward consolidation, identifying for the first time ever, more U.S. physicians working as employees (47.4 percent) rather than as owners of independent practices (45.9 percent). According to Axios' "Vitals," consolidations have largely driven this increase in physician employment, as hospitals have sought to maintain and raise their market shares. This trend raises prices and erodes competition, making it increasingly difficult, and sometimes impossible, to compete in an industry dominated by hospital monopolies. President Trump's mandate toward value-based care makes it imperative that initiatives nurture independent practices as the most fecund incubators of innovative and efficient mechanisms for delivery of care. This executive order will help foment a competitive healthcare marketplace that enhances opportunities to recognize and expand the provision of value-based and cost-effective care."

3. Henry Miller, PhD, managing director of consulting firm Berkeley Research Group:

"Some ASCs have been particularly successful in posting prices that are not just transparent, but very competitive. Generally, what it means is that they might accept less for a procedure than if they were not being aggressive about their prices and making them transparent. Overall, they seem to be doing well, and it's something consumers are going to be interested in, especially those with high-deductible plans. It's a movement that's going somewhat slowly now, but I think that if an ASC in a specific area adopts an approach in which they list their prices and their prices are progressive, they encourage competition from other ASCs."

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