PRICING TRANSPARENCY

“For our community, For our patients, we have a responsibility at every level to  be transparent. ”
–Julie Markiewicz, Auditor II, Kaiser & Vice President, Healthcare, SEIU Local 49

Pricing Transparency

The Problem: Hospital prices are confusing and typically not disclosed to patients before billing. Hospitals in the same community often charge very different amounts for the same services. They also charge different prices to care for patients with the same health problems, depending on what insurance they have or if they are insured at all.

We’d like to require hospitals to prominently display (in the hospital and on their website) the ‘actual price charged’ by the hospital for common procedures.

  • Consumers are able to comparison shop for everything from groceries to phones to cars. Oregonians should be able to compare hospitals based upon the prices they charge.
  • Patients can make more informed decisions about their care if they can compare charges for the same services between hospitals.

EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION AND BONUSES

 “I don’t really care how much my CEO makes, but don’t tell me that I make too much.”
-Mary Brooks, Detail Clerk, Kaiser
The Problem: Excessive pay for hospital executives is one of the factors driving up hospital costs. However, the salaries and bonuses paid to hospital executives often have no direct correlation with the quality of patient care that is delivered to our communities.

We believe that the bonuses for nonprofit hospital executives should be consistent with the community-based intent of such nonprofit hospitals and not in excess considering the substantial public benefit that the tax exemption for nonprofit hospitals conveys.

  • Nonprofit hospital boards should disclose how they determine the amount and allocation of executive bonuses so the public can offer comment and be informed.
  • Executive compensation including bonuses is increasing much faster than other employees’ pay. Resources spent on excessive bonuses are not available for other programs and services that directly impact patient care.
  • Paying a hospital executive more is not linked to the quality of care patients receive.

REASONABLE RATES

“I don’t understand why hospitals charge drastically different prices for the same procedures. Our community should know what these costs are actually for and be able to make decisions base on this information.”
–Renato Quintero, Custodian, SBM, Vice President Property Services, SEIU Local 49

Reasonable Rates

The Problem: Hospital services have become increasingly unaffordable for many Oregonians. Hospitals in the same community often charge different amounts for the same service and charge different prices to different insurance providers. Many hospitals often charge patients more than double what it costs them to provide the service.

We believe the actual rates charged for certain inpatient procedures at hospitals should be reviewed in a public process (just as insurance rates are) to ensure prices are fair and equitable for the patient.

  • It makes no sense for different hospitals to charge different prices for the same services.
  • Prices should be adjusted to allow hospitals to recover losses from treating low income and uninsured patients through charity and Medicaid care.
  • This would not cap prices or change how hospitals determine prices, but it would bring greater transparency and potentially lower costs.