Price Transparency and Physician Quality Report Card 2017

Report | November 08, 2017 | François de Brantes, MS, MBA | Suzanne Delbanco, PhD | Erin Butto, MPH | Karina Patino-Mazmanian | Lea Tessitore, MBA, MSB

For the past four years, Altarum’s Center for Payment Innovation (formerly the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute) and Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR) have published separate state report cards on health care price transparency and physician quality transparency. The reports provided policymakers, consumer advocates, and other health care leaders comprehensive information on how readily consumers could find health care price and quality information in every state across the country. Further, they started a national dialogue on transparency and, in some cases, prompted lawmakers to introduce legislation. The reports have served as invaluable resources to patients, advocates, payers, and clinicians who value price and quality transparency and have used the reports not only to understand where there are transparency deficits across the country, but also to identify the high performing states whose transparency models can be emulated or adapted.

While rising health care costs and increasing financial burdens on consumers due to cost sharing have placed a growing emphasis on the need for price transparency, quality transparency hasn’t gotten the same attention in recent years. Even in states that have fully implemented all payer claims databases, the use of those data is often limited to providing price information, not quality information. To provide consumers with a clear, meaningful picture of their health care choices, it is necessary not only to shine an equal spotlight on both, but also to provide the information together. With that concept in mind, we are pleased to announce that this year we have combined our price transparency and quality report cards and have assessed states’ success—or room for improvement—in offering transparency on both fronts.

For this iteration of the report card, we give each state separate quality transparency and price transparency grades and display these grades side-by-side for comparison. We hope this approach highlights the need for improvement in both areas in many states, and shows how one state may excel in one area, but not the other. At this point, there is no overlap among states that score high in price transparency tools and quality transparency tools. Our aim is to not detract from the good work that states have done in either area but, ultimately, to advise states to emphasize both areas equally so that consumers are able to make informed health care decisions on the basis of price AND quality.

Also, as a supplement to the 2017 Price Transparency and Physician Quality Report Card, Altarum has published a brief, Piercing the Darkness in Connecticut. The brief expands on Connecticut's double F score in light of recent price increases requested by state hospitals despite lower-than-average performance.

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