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Price transparency, care data policies launched by American Medical Society

The new policies encourage physicians to give patients greater price transparency on the cost of care, taking into account insurance status.

Susan Morse, Associate Editor

The new policies encourage physicians to give patients greater price transparency on the cost of care, taking into account insurance status.The new policies encourage physicians to give patients greater price transparency on the cost of care, taking into account insurance status.

The American Medical Association passed two new policies at its annual meeting on Tuesday that encourage physicians to offer more price transparency and improve the quality of patient care data.

The policies also ensure physicians have access to information to help them foster more medical innovation and to enable new delivery and payment models, according to the AMA.

The new policies encourage physicians to give patients greater price transparency on the cost of care, taking into account insurance status. In addition, they support efforts to improve the health literacy of patients to better understand the healthcare pricing information that they access.

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The policies also call for collaboration with health plans, public and private entities, and other stakeholder groups to create better price and quality transparency for patients and physicians.

Over the past few years, large amounts of health care information have increasingly become publicly accessible through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other sources such as all-payer claims databases, registries and qualified entities, according to the AMA.

But while more health information is available to the public, much of it is not timely or actionable and lacks context, the AMA said.

The two new AMA policies aim to address these limitations and ensure physicians, practices, care systems, physician-led organizations and other relevant stakeholders can proactively access meaningful health care information.

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The AMA said it has been actively working with CMS to improve upon its recent release of physician-specific Medicare claims data. The information, released earlier this month, was termed a “treasure trove” but  had “considerable limitations,” according to the AMA.

“The lesson to be learned from the release of raw 2012 physician-specific Medicare claims information is that transparency is twofold,” the AMA said at the time in a letter to CMS. “It requires not only access to data but understanding the scope, exclusions and limitations of the information. Without this context, conclusions and analyses are likely to be wrong.”

Twitter: @SusanMorseHFN

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