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'ASCs are ready to do their part' on price & quality transparency — 3 thoughts from ASCA CEO William Prentice

Healthcare costs and quality should be made more transparent and user-friendly across care settings, according to William Prentice, CEO of the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association.

He shared three calls to action in a recent column:

1. Mandate more informative reporting. In addition to reporting when a patient must be transferred from an ASC to the hospital, ASCs should be required to include the reason for the transfer, Mr. Prentice said. Such a mandate could help capture factors unrelated to the scheduled procedure — an irregular heart rate, for instance.

2. Utilize common metrics. The data hospital outpatient departments and ASCs are required to report should be standardized to help patients make an "apples-to-apples" comparison about care quality.

3. Continue price transparency progress. Payers' efforts to make more information available to patients, as well as Medicare's "Procedure Price Lookup" tool to compare costs between hospital outpatient departments and ASCs, are steps in the right direction.

However, most patients still choose services with little information. With more patients enrolling in high-deductible health plans or paying greater out-of-pocket costs, ASCs should strive to make prices available upfront.

"Few, if any, expenditures in our lives are as important and essential as our healthcare — and that's why we owe it to patients to provide better, more useful information about the cost and quality of care available to them. ASCs are ready to do their part, and we hope others are, as well," Mr. Prentice said.

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