Seema Verma says hospitals should do more regarding price transparency

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CMS’ price transparency deadline is three weeks past and consumers are still confused about what they are going to pay for healthcare. While some hospital administrators blame the rule and say that it’s too confusing for consumers, CMS chief Seema Verma stresses that the burden is on hospitals to clarify what healthcare is going to cost and that simply publishing a list of prices isn’t the rule’s intent.

Jacqueline LaPointe, in her article, “CMS: We Must Do More Than New Healthcare Prices Transparency Rule,” published January 10, 2019 in RevCycle Intelligence, captured Verma’s comments:

While many hospital CEOs have released statements of support, some have voiced concerns that making chargemaster information available to the public could be confusing for consumers. So, let me be clear, hospitals don’t have to wait for us to go further in helping their patients understand what care will cost.

 If patients don’t know the cost of care and can’t compare costs across different providers, they cannot seek out the highest quality services at the lowest cost as they do in any other industry.

 By requiring this information to be in a machine-readable format, we set the stage for private third parties to develop tools and resources that are more meaningful and actionable than a list of codes and prices. The information hospitals are posting now isn’t patient-specific. But we still believe that it is an important first step. There’s no reason hospitals can’t do more.

While the work we have done to empower patients by increasing transparency is unprecedented, we are just getting started as we work to increase price and quality transparency throughout the entire healthcare system. We have to do more. We have to not only increase price transparency, but also recognize the solution is not as simple as just revealing prices. We also need to make sure patients have the right information at the right time to make a decision.

The Healthcare Finance Management Association (HFMA) in May 2018 voiced concerns about publishing chargemasters. LaPointe reported these in her January 10 article as well: “Information on charges or on average charges is of limited value to consumers, as it will likely be significantly different from the amount they will be expected to pay. Chargemaster prices serve only as a starting point; adjustments to these prices are routinely made for contractual discounts that are negotiated with or set by third-party payers. Few patients actually pay the chargemaster price.”

As a hospital administrator, you have the power today to help your consumers know what they are going to pay for healthcare. HealthQRS solution does all of the work for you and what you will publish is not an estimate. You’ll publish the actual out-of-pocket cost and your consumers can shop for services, can shop by provider, and they can schedule and pay for those services easily from an app on their smartphones. Our system can also provide quality scores for the patient. HealthQRS has created a technology solution that hospitals can use to publish prices in a way that consumers understand, that looks and feels like an Amazon experience. We help you give people the right information at the right time. Yes, it’s complicated. But it can be done because HealthQRS has done it.

HealthQRS’ solution even allows you to bundle services so that your patients don’t receive multiple bills.

When you buy a car, do you get the bill for each part? The steering wheel costs this much. The brakes cost this. Oh, you want headlights? Well, you’ll get a separate bill for that in a few months. Who would buy a car like that? Yet, our healthcare system expects consumers to settle for multiple, confusing bills?

You can do much better for your patients. And it won’t be painful for you either. HealthQRS has created an elaborate contract management system with a built-in rules engine that allows for sophisticated contract pricing and lets you to easily bundle services.

For example, the first procedure might have no discount, the 2nd procedure might have a 50% discount, and our contract management system handles all of that and handles the complex calculations so that your billing office doesn’t have to.

HealthQRS’ solution allows you to provide consumers with what they want: A true retail experience in healthcare. HealthQRS has developed the only complete e-commerce platform for healthcare on the market. We give consumers a site that allows them to use their smartphone, tablets or computers to shop, schedule and pay for services and medications and see actual pricing and options based on their health plans and networks. Our solution is simple to use. We invite you to see for yourself with this 2-minute video of the HealthQRS price transparency tool. Click on this link, then you’ll be instructed to download and watch: https://s3.amazonaws.com/hqrs.media/_misc/Screen+Recording+2018-11-29+at+17.30.45.mov

Our solution will help you comply with CMS’ price transparency rule, but we are much more than a price transparency tool. Our platform has over 30 modules that work independently or all together depending upon your needs to provide a holistic, seamless, total experience for the consumer from start to finish. We combine navigation, the capability to make an appointment, referral management (if needed), payment management and so much more than we can list here.

HealthQRS’ price transparency tool allows you to publish price as well a downloadable readable file that shows realistic pricing, not the charge master or incomprehensible scripts.  In addition, we can provide out-of-pocket pricing. Our solution can also capture the user’s information, such as name, email address and phone number.

We enable telehealth connectivity as well. Our technology enables people to connect to more cost-effective, consumer-oriented healthcare options and we keep them in-network. HealthQRS integrates fully to your EHR and can also enhance your existing portals and other patient engagement solutions and improve your meaningful use numbers and increase meaningful use funds. Consumers can access your retail site and shop, schedule and pay for your services via an easy-to-use app on their smartphones or tablets.

We are a software-as-a-service (SaaS), so you have no capital investment, just a low monthly fee. HealthQRS can provide this to you for as low as $500 per month and we can have you compliant by January 1, and not only that, your facilities will be much more attractive to consumers than your competition who is publishing charge master prices.

Developing a solution of this magnitude didn’t happen overnight. We started with the consumer experience in mind and spent years drawing on the knowledge of best-of-breed experts to perfect, fine tune and put together this complicated, yet complete solution for medical e-commerce.

In fact, HealthQRS has over 15 years of experience developing healthcare retail experiences for people and our founders have over 50 combined years of e-commerce experience. We also invite you to watch our user-friendly app video that you can use to win consumers as well as our point-of-service solution video that may interest you. You can also check out our E-Commerce Medical Marketplace Flyer for more information.

Contact us right now to schedule a personalized demo. We can help you go beyond the letter of the law to publish prices that are meaningful to consumers. We can help you bundle services and pricing, and we can get you entire system set up in a matter of weeks. Looking forward to helping you soon.

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