Yes the headline is a tongue twister but the story is pretty simple. The Everett Clinic has begun posting prices for those who self pay or choose not to use their insurance. In their press release The Everett Clinic is calling it “a bold and important step toward greater healthcare transparency.” Currently there are more than 30 categories from which you can see the full cost of service. Here are the details from April Zepada at the Everett Clinic…
The Everett Clinic is again leading the way in demystifying healthcare pricing for patients as one of the first large healthcare systems in the Pacific Northwest to post prices for all of its most frequently used services.
As of November 1st, The Everett Clinic will make price lists available in all departments in which patients make appointments, enabling patients to know in advance how much services will cost prior to insurance adjustments.
“The Everett Clinic will continue to champion transparency and healthcare reform efforts that keep costs down while ensuring high quality care,” said Rick Cooper, CEO of The Everett Clinic.
The Clinic, which began listing prices for its most commonly used imaging services in May, has added pricing in other departments since then. The addition on Nov. 1 of the Clinic’s Sleep Center, Hearing Aid Center and Vision Centers means that all departments that offer appointments now list prices for the most used services.
Dr. Al Fisk, Chief Medical Officer, said the Clinic is posting prices because patients deserve to know how much their cost will be prior to receiving treatment, especially now that many are paying a greater percentage of their healthcare costs.
“Higher deductibles and larger co-pays are requiring patients to pay more out-of-pocket for their healthcare,” Dr. Fisk said. “Listing prices helps patients make informed decisions and helps us determine whether the Clinic is providing effective and appropriate care at reasonable prices.”
The price lists, which can be found at www.everettclinic.com/price, reflect self-pay or uninsured rates. Patients can find out prices for services not listed on the website by calling the Clinic directly at 425-258-3900.
More healthcare transparency should enable patients to work with their healthcare provider to determine their best medical options. Medical services costs can vary greatly among providers in the same geographic region. In many situations, the quality of care and outcomes are unrelated to costs, meaning patients may be paying more but not necessarily receiving better care.
The Clinic has long supported efforts that promote greater transparency for patients. A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report issued this spring praised the Clinic for its efforts to lower healthcare costs and for supporting steps to increase healthcare transparency such as an all-payer claims database that would enable anyone to compare the cost of healthcare services from any provider.
The Clinic has been a leader in other healthcare reforms efforts that reduce patient care costs while maintaining quality.
For example, the Clinic developed an evidence-based guide for advanced imaging, cutting down on needless diagnostic tests. Physicians now order CT and MRI scans only when certain criteria are met. The effort has resulted in a reduction of unnecessary use of imaging services by 39 percent, saving patients, health plans and the Clinic more than $3.2 million each year.