Making the grade on health care price transparency: Oregon up to “B” from “F”

July 26, 2016 — Lake Oswego, Oregon — Due in large part to the legislation the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems sponsored in 2015, Oregon has received a health care transparency rating of “B” in The 2016 Report Card on State Price Transparency Laws, developed by the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute (HCI3) and Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR). In every previous edition of the scorecard, Oregon had received an “F” along with most other states in the nation. Now Oregon is one of seven states that receive above a failing grade, and is one of only one of four which get an “A” or a “B.”

The Report Card on State Price Transparency Laws rates states on a series of metrics, all of which focus on whether the public is being provided with high-quality, accessible health care pricing information. The new report cites OregonHospitalGuide.org, where Oregon’s data is displayed in an easy-to-use, accessible and comparable manner as a key reason Oregon moved up the ranks this year. The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems created and maintains the website, and took state-produced price data and displayed it on that site, in an effort to increase transparency.

“Oregon hospitals are proud to have led the way towards this improved grade by both passing legislation to make price data public and also putting that data on OregonHospitalGuide.org for patients and the public to access,” said Andy Davidson, president and CEO of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems. “Our ultimate goal was not to improve our grade, however, but to improve the quality and amount of information available to the public and our patients. When you combine this online pricing data with our commitment to giving patients a good-faith estimate within three business days, we feel that we are putting great tools in the hands of our community in a substantive way for the first time.”

“Oregon is a model for how strong vision and leadership can help under-performing states move rapidly up the ratings,” said Suzanne Delbanco, executive director of Catalyst for Payment Reform. “We are pleased to see Oregon getting the recognition it deserves for providing crucial information to consumers who want spend their health care dollars wisely.”

“Oregon’s transparency law combines two elements that every state should emulate: collecting data in an all-payer claims database, and publishing it online,” said Fran├žois de Brantes, executive director of HCI3. “Those were the keys to the state’s leap toward the top of the grade scale.”

“I’m gratified that the hard work we did in the 2015 Legislative Session on health care price transparency has paid off,” said Senator Laurie Monnes-Anderson, who was a lead sponsor of the bill which set the new round of transparency work in motion. “Patients around Oregon deserve access to quality pricing data. I’m proud that we’ve taken this huge step forward in this area and are being recognized on a national level. In the end, more health care information leads to better choices.”

“We tackled the tricky issue of health care pricing transparency head on in 2015 and I’m proud to know that our hard work did not go unnoticed,” said Representative John Lively, who also shepherded the bill through the legislature. “In a data-driven world, it was unacceptable to think that our state’s health care system could not provide good pricing data for patients to access. I applaud all those involved in this effort and look forward to sharing the new resources with my constituents.”

The report says that Oregon merits the “B” grade because it “collects data in an [All Payer All Claims] database, including paid amounts, and publishes the data on good website for consumers. Oregon can earn an even higher score if the state collects practitioner prices in addition to facility prices and does so for a greater number of services and procedures.

“Oregon hospitals are grateful to have had great partners in this effort–especially in the Legislature, where key members were both active and engaged on this,” added Andy Davidson. “We thank Senators Laurie Monnes-Anderson, Jeff Kruse, Alan Bates, Betsy Johnson, and Tim Knopp as well as Representatives Nancy Nathanson, John Lively, Cedric Hayden, John Davis, Bill Kennemer and Brian Clem. These legislators’ focus on health care transparency and their advocacy for the bill underlying this work is truly commendable and we look forward to working with them to move our state further along towards a truly transparent, safe and sustainable health care system. We also thank the Catalyst for Payment Reform and HCI3 for their guidance via their scorecard on how to achieve true health care transparency and thank them for their advocacy on this subject.”

About OAHHS
Founded in 1934, the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems is a statewide, nonprofit association that works closely with local, state and national health care leaders, businesses, citizen coalitions, and other organizations to enhance and promote community health and to continue improving Oregon’s health care community.