Price Transparency: Building Community Trust

Clarke, Richard L.
March 2007
Frontiers of Health Services Management;Spring2007, Vol. 23 Issue 3, p3
With the push from policymakers, payers, and consumers for hospitals to make their prices public, healthcare executives need to recognize two central issues related to price transparency: 1) meaningful price transparency involves helping patients and consumers understand their financial obligation for an episode of care, and 2) price transparency is key to the most critical success strategy for healthcare providers: building trust. This article reviews the history of pricing and billing practices and explores why price transparency is not easily achieved in today's environment. Pricing is a mystery even to those of us who work in the field, yet despite its complexity, the call for price transparency is not going to go away. For transparency, the goal should be to establish a rational pricing system that is easily explainable and justified to all stakeholders. Healthcare executives must make pricing a priority, understand cost, develop a pricing philosophy, understand the overall revenue requirements, examine market conditions and prices, and set up systems for review. A rational process of price setting should enhance community trust. In this matter there is nothing less at stake than the hearts of our community members.


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