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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Hospitals still Scott's target as he repeats transparency plan

29

September

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday reiterated a plan to require that hospitals publish prices and financial details online.

Details of exactly what that will entail are not yet available, but the governor said in a press release Monday that he wants to see online disclosure of prices and a beefier state database at FloridaHealthFinder.gov. After a Florida Cabinet meeting Tuesday, he said he wants third-party review of prices, as well.

“This comes down to making sure all of our patients have the opportunity to get the information so they can make an informed decision, no different than the decision they would make if they’re going to buy any other product or service,” Scott said Tuesday.

What the governor hasn’t addressed is how other parts of the health care industry would be affected, an important component as hospitals do not set their rates in a vacuum, nor are they the only parties in contracts that govern the costs of health care. Health plans and drug companies play a significant role as well.

Scott acknowledged that the whole industry ought to be part of the conversation, but said that “my reform that I’m proposing is with regard to hospitals.”

In a statement Monday evening, Florida Hospital Association President Bruce Rueben said the organization supports transparency as a concept, but Rueben did not weigh in on Scott's proposal specifically.

For two days now, the governor has pounded the drumbeat of transparency. But when asked by reporters after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, he would not say how he promoted transparency when he was CEO of Columbia/HCA, a hospital company that was fined $1.7 billion in a Medicaid fraud case.

Scott did point to Solantic, the urgent care company he founded, as an example of promoting transparency.

"I put all the prices up on the menu board, just like Starbucks," he said. "What's it going to cost to see a doctor? What's it going to cost to get a procedure?"

Asked again, specifically about his time as a hospital CEO, he brought up Solantic again.

"One of the things I did was start an urgent care company," Scott said.

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 6:08pm]

    

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