Early next year the Michigan Health & Hospital Association plans to post an index of charges at the state's not-for-profit hospitals.
The association's board voted unanimously this week to develop a Web site that would list charges for the most common 30 to 50 tests and procedures at its 146 member hospitals, said Lori Latham, senior director of political and public affairs. The goal is to get the site online in January or February.
The plan was reported today in the Detroit Free Press, getting ahead of the association's efforts to inform all of its members. Many were involved in a task force and subsequent meetings about the idea, Latham said.
"We have a long way to go and a lot of work by our staff and our member hospitals in order to get this Web site up in January," Latham said. "It doesn't help just to throw up data on a Web site if consumers can't navigate it, and ultimately if the data's wrong it doesnt help."
The association will look for guidance in transparency efforts in other states, such as Wisconsin's wipricepoint.org, launched in 2005.
"It could be very confusing if patients only look at the chargethat's the part that concerns us," said Paul Szilagyi, regional vice president for Henry Ford Health System, a five-hospital system in Michigan.
"The reality is this is the way the market is moving, and it makes sense this is the way Michigan is moving, too," Szilagyi said. -- by Gregg Blesch
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