DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Governor Scott continued his war with hospitals this morning while stopping at a job creator in Daytona Beach.
After announcing that Total Quality Logistics would create 100 jobs in Daytona Beach the Governor repeated his calls for hospitals to post their pricing on line.
"We've got to empower patients, and how do you empower patients? You give them information."
He also would prefer prices for services be posted in the emergency rooms as well.
"You know what it costs you to go to the grocery store, when you buy gas. Why shouldn't you know when you are thinking about getting healthcare? And you should per chance if you are going to have an emergency. You should know before you go."
The Governor is angry with many hospitals in the state after a bruising battle last Legislative session over whether or not Medicaid would be expanded to cover an additional 900 thousand Floridians under Obamacare. The hospitals wanted the expansion, the Governor did not. He says we are talking about your money.
"Your tax dollars go into our hospitals around the state. They need to tell us their costs. They need to tell us their charges, and all of the hospitals ought to be doing this. "
We asked the Governor if people were being ripped off by hospitals.
"What we ought to be doing is making sure everybody knows. I think then you the consumer could figure that out, whether you think you are being charged fairly or not."
The Governor was head of Columbia/HCA when they were hit with what was at the time the largest Medicare fraud fine in history, but Mr. Scott himself was not implicated. We asked two of our area's largest hospitals how they handle pricing. Florida Hospital says they follow regulations by linking their website to floridahealthfinder.gov, and sent us this statement.
"We believe consumers deserve meaningful and personalized price estimates, and that's why Florida Hospital goes above and beyond state regulations. We have an online tool and telephone line for patients to receive customized estimates, which takes into account their personal health history, insurance, physicians and other factors. Comparing health care costs is not as simple as shopping for a commodity, such as a car. Every patient and their circumstances are unique, which is why we advocate consumers call us for a personal estimate. Relying solely on generic online tools that do not consider a consumer's personal information is a disservice, and does not provide an accurate reflection of what their true out-of-pocket costs may be. Personalization is necessary if you want to empower patients to make the best health care choice for themselves and their loved ones."
Orlando Health sent us this statement: "Orlando Health is working diligently to identify and implement pricing transparency that is meaningful, useful and easily accessible for patients. We currently provide the information in a couple of different ways. Insured patients may contact us at 321-843-8000 or email us at PriceEstimates@orlandohealth.com to request a specific price estimate based on their insurance plan, benefit level, and the care their physician has ordered. Individuals without insurance may access a published list of over 30 common procedures on our Orlando Health website, at orlandohealth.com. We have efforts underway to increase the number of procedures for which we are able to provide pricing estimates. While this is a complex process, we realize the need to have a vast catalog of estimations and to be nimble in evaluating and calculating a patient's out of pocket expense. Individuals may also go to medicare.gov to find additional pricing information. As for our 990s, while they are not posted on our website, they have always been available to the public through a number of sources including www.guidestar.org or by sending an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org."