On Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis showcased efforts to increase the transparency of healthcare systems across the Sunshine State.
Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) Sec. Mary Mayhew, incoming state House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Clearwater, and state Rep. Wengay Newton, D-St. Petersburg, joined DeSantis on Monday as he unveiled Florida’s updated transparency web tool and announced the “Governor’s Transparency Award.” DeSanits also issued a directive to Mayhew “to engage the employer community to collaborate on finding effective solutions in promoting transparency.”
“Healthcare is the only industry where a consumer purchases something without knowing the price or value, and that needs to change,” said DeSantis. “As governor, I am laser focused on empowering patients with information through transparency and with these announcements today, we take another step in the right direction. Ultimately, my goal is to make Florida’s health care system the most transparent, most affordable and highest quality health care system in the nation.”
“Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, our Agency has worked to dramatically increase the amount of healthcare information available to consumers,” said Mayhew. “Floridians for the first time will have access to health care costs for procedures at hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers on Florida Health Price Finder. Our mission is to drive affordability and value across Florida’s healthcare system and by eliminating barriers to health care cost transparency we empower the consumers to make well-informed decisions and create increased accountability for providers.”
“With pricing information now readily available for a wide range of services and procedures on Florida Health Price Finder, patients can truly become consumers and make informed, empowered decisions about how and where they receive their health care,” said Sprowls. “I applaud Governor DeSantis for expediting the development of this website and am proud to join him in announcing its launch and celebrate transparency for the benefit of all Florida consumers.”
When he took over in Tallahassee at the start of the year, DeSantis ordered Mayhew “to expedite the development of Florida’s transparency web tool to offer facility-level pricing and quality information for the most common healthcare services.” On Monday, DeSantis announced that “Floridians now have expanded access to facility specific cost information for 44 frequently searched non-emergency hospitals and ambulatory surgery center procedures by accessing AHCA’s Florida Health Price Finder website.”
“The expansion of Florida Health Price Finder enables Florida consumers to review and shop costs for frequently sought health care services such as knee replacements, hip replacements, or rotator cuff repair at facilities in their area. This cost data is linked also to quality information, thereby empowering Floridians with the transparency necessary to make fully informed health care decisions,” the governor’s office noted.
DeSantis also announced the creation of the “Governor’s Health Care Transparency Award” for hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers which will honor facilities “that have exceeded the bar set by regulatory standards and that are actively providing accessible and understandable data about their pricing, financial policies, and performance to patients and prospective patients.”
On Monday, DeSantis ordered Mayhew “to engage Florida’s business community in aligning efforts toward value-based healthcare.”
“Leveraging the collective purchasing power of the state of Florida and private employers to drive greater accountability for improved health outcomes and pay-for-performance strategies will yield a health care system that delivers the highest quality care at the lowest cost with the most benefit to Florida consumers,” the governor’s office noted.
Sprowls weighed in on the event.
“In 2016, alongside Senator Rob Bradley, I set out to prevent staggering, unforeseen costs at health care facilities and empower patients by ensuring ultimate transparency in the healthcare marketplace,” said Sprowls. “The result was the passage of House Bill 1175, Transparency in Healthcare. This law, the first of its kind in the nation to deliver an unprecedented level of transparency to healthcare, in part, called for the establishment of a website that would require health care providers to post estimates on a variety of health care-related services and procedures.
“Today, with the launch of the updated Florida Health Price Finder website, the goal of transparency in healthcare pricing is being realized,” he added. “In the past, too many Floridians and their families sought medical care only to end up with massive bills they could not have anticipated, and, in the worst cases, these families ended up bankrupt.”