Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration last week signed contracts with four companies to provide software to measure outcomes and prices of hospital care under the state's new managed-competition healthcare plan.
The state signed two-year licensing agreements with 3M Health Information Systems, Salt Lake City, and Health Systems Consultants, New Haven, Conn. It also signed service contracts with Healthcare Business Services/Intellimed, Tacoma, Wash., and MetriCor, Louisville, Ky.
Under the agreements, most of the vendors are supplying the software free of charge to the state for the two years of the contracts.
The state also is negotiating contracts with two other information system companies, said Randy Mutter, AHCA's administrator of research and analysis. Those companies are Iameter, San Mateo, Calif., and MedAI, Orlando, Fla.
Under state rules, hospitals aren't required to buy the vendors' software or services, but the Florida Hospital Association complained that some vendors already are suggesting that to hospitals.
"Some vendors are telling hospitals the agency signed a contract with them and they have to buy their software....But they don't," said Kim Streit, the FHA's vice president of information services.
Mr. Mutter said the agency's contracts also prohibit vendors telling hospitals their products have been "endorsed" by the state. "We have chosen these products because they are most helpful to us to understand the data," he said.
The FHA had favored 3M's APR-DRG system over several other competing systems. The FHA and 77 hospitals have been using 3M's APR-DRG system for the past two years to compare outcomes at hospitals (Aug. 30, 1993, p. 6).
But state officials decided to select most of the vendors that made presentations because they saw features they liked in all of them, Mr. Mutter said.
The only company the AHCA didn't select was MediQual Systems, Westborough, Mass., which was the state's early favorite. The FHA had argued that MediQual's MedisGroups, which bases its outcomes measuring on medical record abstracts, was too expensive (Nov. 29, 1993, p. 20).
Under the data plan, hospitals will continue to submit patient discharge forms, or UB-82-92s, to the state agency. The state, in turn, will use 3M's APR-DRG software and Health Systems Consultants' RDRG software to adjust the discharge data for severity of illness and transfer it to public data tapes, Mr. Mutter said.
The data is intended to be used by Florida's 11 community health purchasing alliances to assess quality and prices at hospitals that submit bids to provide care for alliance members.
The data tapes also will be sold to hospitals, consultants, insurance companies and other parties for $600 a year, Mr. Mutter said.