Summary: We launched our Florida PriceCheck partnership on Thursday, crowdsourcing health prices with new partners WLRN public radio in Miami and WUSF public radio in Tampa Bay, and their Health News Florida collaboration. In the first two days after launch, our web analytics show that we had visits from the Florida Legislature, the Florida Department of Insurance, the Florida Department of Health, Humana, UnitedHealthCare, Cigna, Aetna, the Blues, and about a dozen Florida hospitals. Also visiting: Carnegie Mellon, Johns Hopkins, the Washington State Attorney General, the Broward County Commission and scads of others. Yay for our great partners, who have deep knowledge and stellar audiences!.
Florida’s an interesting place. The legislature recently enacted one of the strongest state laws protecting consumers against surprise out-of-network medical bills. It also passed a law that seeks to give Florida one of the nation’s most robust healthcare price and quality transparency systems. While the bill has lofty aims, many other such transparency bills in other states have resulted in only partial achievement of price and quality transparency.
So our effort comes against a backdrop of lawmakers recognizing there’s a problem, and seeking to fix it.
“Consumers skeptical about the real cost of health care will soon have a resource where they can ask and share with their neighbors the price of common medical procedures,” Mary Shedden, news director of WUSF, wrote in announcing our partnership.
How it works: We collect data via provider surveys and data research. Then we put our interactive widget on news partners’ web sites, pre-populating with our data, and asking community members to tell us what they were charged and what they paid. People can share and search the data, and we use the data to write and tell about the costs of health care.
These are our sixth and seventh big media partnerships. Our partnership with KQED public radio in San Francisco and KPCC/Southern California Public Radio in Los Angeles was funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. We also launched with WHYY public radio in Philadelphia, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Our California Tumblr collecting our PriceCheck coverage, now a bit out of date, is here.
Here’s our Medpage Today partnership, with links to coverage.
Our initial pilot project with WNYC public radio in 2013 brought nearly 400 women to the WNYC pages to tell us what they were charged and what they paid for their mammograms.
Our partnerships and their impact
Here’s a Harvard Business Review piece about our work with our media partners. There’s some more info about us below. We’ve been featured on NPR and in USA Today, and our partner Lisa Aliferis from KQED wrote about our work in JAMA Internal Medicine, and it was accompanied by a positive editor’s note from Rita Redberg, the JAMA editor, among other great earned media. (Look at our press page for some citations.)
We also have been asked to testify to the California State Senate Health Committee on transparency and we were cited in a Stanford Health-Anthem Blue Cross contract dispute.
We were also asked to supply information to Covered California and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
We have also been featured speakers at events including Politico Pro, the Department of Health and Human Services Datapalooza in Washington, the New York Ehealth Cooperative Patient Shark Tank (we won!) and Grantmakers in Health (for our demonstrated impact) and at other events and locations.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded ClearHealthCosts.
She was previously a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia University School of Journalism. ClearHealthCosts has won grants from the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York; the International Women’s Media Foundation; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with KQED public radio in San Francisco and KPCC in Los Angeles; the Lenfest Foundation in Philadelphia for a partnership with The Philadelphia Inquirer; and the New York State Health Foundation for a partnership with WNYC public radio/Gothamist in New York; and other honors.
Her TED talk about fixing health costs has surpassed 2 million views.