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We won! We’re going to crowdsource prices with two California partners, via a Knight Foundation grant

Posted by on April 22, 2014

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Summary: We are thrilled to announce that we are joining KQED in San Francisco and KPCC/Southern California Public Radio in Los Angeles in a project to crowdsource health-care prices in California, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation via its Prototype Fund.

The plan is to leverage the power of the three partners’ communities to shed light on the rising cost of health care, which is one of the biggest problems we face today as a nation. No one knows what things cost, because the marketplace is opaque. The partners in this project plan to address that by collecting and revealing prices via crowdsourcing, also called distributed reporting or participatory journalism.

We were among 17 new projects winning investment from the Knight Foundation in its most recent cohort.

“People should know what things cost in health care,” said Jeanne Pinder, founder and CEO of clearhealthcosts.com. “We’ll use the power of our communities to reveal the secrets of the marketplace, and join hands to make this opaque system more transparent.”

Building on a WNYC pilot program

The proposal will to repeat and improve upon the crowdsourcing partnership clearhealthcosts.com conducted with the Brian Lehrer Show at WNYC public radio in New York — only this time, in California. In the WNYC pilot, hundreds of women shared mammogram prices, payments and thoughts about the health-care marketplace. We wrote a series of blog posts about it; here’s one and here’s another and another.

KQED and KPCC have deep traditions of engagement with their communities. Both have extensive experience in health reporting.

In the new Prototype Fund project, the partners will create and deploy tools to allow and encourage their communities to work together to collect and share prices for common procedures. It is envisioned as a six-month prototype.

“Sometimes you have a great idea, and you just need time, space and some capital to test it,” the Knight Foundation wrote in its announcement today. “Seventeen projects will get that chance as the latest recipients of Prototype Fund grants from Knight Foundation.

“The Prototype Fund is designed to give people with great concepts for media and information projects grants of $35,000 and six months to take their idea all the way to demo with a class of others facing a similar challenge. What can you learn in six months? Quite a bit.”

The organizations

The Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org.

KQED serves the people of Northern California with a community-supported alternative to commercial media, via its public radio, public television, interactive and educational services divisions. KQED provides citizens with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions; convenes community dialogue; brings the arts to everyone; and engages audiences to share their stories. For more, visit KQED.org.

Southern California Public Radio (SCPR) is a member-supported public media network that operates 89.3 KPCC-FM in Los Angeles and Orange County, 89.1 KUOR-FM in the Inland Empire and 90.3 KVLA in the Coachella Valley. SCPR’s mission is to strengthen the civic and cultural bonds that unite Southern California’s diverse communities by providing the highest quality news and information service through radio and other interactive media. For more, visit SCPR.org.

clearhealthcosts.com is a New York City startup bringing transparency to the health-care marketplace by telling people what stuff costs. Using a combination of shoe-leather journalism, database sourcing and curation, crowdsourcing and partnering, clearhealthcosts is revealing the secrets of an opaque marketplace, and seeking to help solve one of the biggest problems we face as a nation. For more, visit clearhealthcosts.com

quote context: http://pllqt.it/VGWyju

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Health cost transparency: Hospitals in the U.K. list prices

Posted by on April 19, 2014

Summary: Insured? Pay for yourself? On the National Health Service? Hospitals in the United Kingdom have been relatively forthcoming about listing prices. Gall bladder surgery in Cambridge, we learned, will set us back 5,130 pounds all in ($8,614 at the current exchange rate), at a Nuffield Hospitals facility. At the Hospital Corporation of America hospitals in the U.K., it’s 6,221 pounds ($10,446).

 

 


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Are benefits of transparency overstated? Jessie Gruman says ‘maybe’

Posted by on April 18, 2014

Summary: Jessie Gruman is one of our heroes. She has a great piece over at Kevinmd.com about the value of price transparency. Must read. We don’t fully agree, but it’s a great piece. 

 

 


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Consumer guide from Healthcare Financial Management Association

Posted by on April 17, 2014

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Summary: A new consumer guide from the Healthcare Financial Management Association has been published. It’s a pretty thorough guide; with information from our site (yes!) you can learn a lot about health costs. Reviewers include Francois de Brantes, executive director of the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute; Suzanne Delbanco,
executive director of Catalyst for Payment Reform; Mark Rukavina
principal at Community Health Advisors, and others.

You can click on the image to be taken to their web site; also, if you prefer, the entire guide is here:  CHCConsumerGuideHFMA

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Price transparency, of a sort, in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Posted by on April 17, 2014

Summary: Spectrum Health, a Grand Rapids, Mich., nonprofit health care group, has been publishing price information for some time. Its web site offers a search that reveals charged price, average Medicare payment, average Medicaid payment and average private insurance company payment for a range of common procedures. It’s a lot of work, although it’s not directly actionable. Read on for details, or …

 

 


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Quality measures in health care: Docs who do more do better

Posted by on April 11, 2014

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SUMMARY: It’s hard to find good quality measures in health care. One good proxy measure for quality is frequency: The doc who does more knee replacements tends to be good at doing knee replacements. It’s not always strictly true, but often is.

 

 


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How much does Medicare pay doctors? The big data release

Posted by on April 9, 2014

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SUMMARY: A big pile of Medicare doctor payment data was released today. That’s great for transparency, and great for public debate. It’s also a big step toward understanding some of the vagaries of our health care system.

 

 


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The new Medicare payment data release: 2 experts set the stage

Posted by on April 8, 2014

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SUMMARY: A big release of data from Medicare, on what doctors got paid what for doing what, is coming in hours. There’s a lot of debate about it — the American Medical Association resisted, and then stopped resisting — and the mystery about what’s in the data has been building for months. For a sneak peek, read on….

 

 


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How much does gall bladder surgery cost? $5,865 or $94,897

Posted by on April 8, 2014

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SUMMARY: Q: How much does gallbladder surgery cost?

A: Anywhere from $5,865 to $94,897.

Here’s another one: How can a person with good insurance wind up paying $6,104.64 for gallbladder surgery? Well, it’s not hard. Keep reading for the answers, or …

 

 


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How much do medical records cost? Guest post by Amy Gleason

Posted by on April 7, 2014

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SUMMARY: You own your medical records, right? Not so fast. If you want to take records from one place to another, you need to fill out forms, jump through hoops and — sometimes — pay lots of money.
 

 


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