Thursday, 17 Oct 2019

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ACP Supports Transparency of Health Care Costs

The American College of Physicians (ACP) is encouraged by the Trump administration’s executive order to improve transparency of health care costs. ACP firmly believes that increasing health care transparency is critical in providing quality, affordable, and accessible health care coverage to patients who need it the most.

In ACP’s position paper, “Improving Health Care Efficacy and Efficiency Through Increased Transparency,” ACP’s recommendations supported transparency of reliable and valid price information, expected out-of-pocket costs, and quality data that allows consumers, physicians, payers, and other stakeholders to compare and assess medical services and products in a meaningful way.

ACP believes that health care facilities should clearly communicate to a patient whether a physician or other provider is in-network or out-of-network and the estimated out-of-pocket payment responsibilities of the consumer. Furthermore, the executive order calls for expanding access to health care data, as well as regulatory steps to address surprise billing—positive steps forward in promoting transparency for patients. ACP also supports efforts to consolidate quality metrics across federal health care programs, a move that could help to reduce the administrative burdens for physicians.

As a physician, I’ve seen how important it is to protect patients from high, unexpected out-of-pocket costs. Health care expenses should never be used as the sole criterion for choosing a physician, other health care professional, or health care service. While ACP supports the concept of the executive order, it should be implemented in a way that does not impose impracticable or excessive administrative burdens on clinicians, practices, and health care facilities in disclosing price data to patients.

ACP is hopeful that the executive order will not only increase transparency in health care costs, but will help patients better access affordable, quality care by holding the U.S. health care system accountable. We look forward to reviewing the administration’s proposals as they are made available.

Statement attributable to:
Robert McLean, MD, FACP
President, American College of Physicians

 

Disclosures: 
The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose related to this subject

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