Our prototype PriceCheck project, reporting on and crowdsourcing health care prices in California, launched in 2014 with KQED public radio in San Francisco and KPCC/Southern California Public Radio in Los Angeles. The partnership was funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which supports innovative journalism and civic engagement work.
Since our launch, thousands of people have shared and searched for health cost information on KQED and KPCC’s PriceCheck databases. The partners used the data for news stories; our reporting has been collected on this Tumblr and on local station pages, at KPCC/SCPR and KQED, and also on our home blog — on the blog page, search “KQED” or “KPCC” or “California” for an inventory.
The information comes from several sources. First, our journalists conduct a direct survey of local providers to collect cash or self-pay prices for a range of 30-35 common, “shoppable” procedures. Through our interactive software tool, we encourage community members to add to the site by sharing their pricing information from bills or “explanation of benefits” statements. We also include data on the Medicare reimbursement rate, what the government pays for a procedure in a given area under the Medicare program for older Americans, since that’s the closest thing to a fixed or benchmark price in the marketplace. That figure is computed via a formula used to price 8,400 procedures in 90 separate geographical areas in the system used by the federal government.
More information about the entire data set can be found here. More information about medical codes can be found here.
More information about our nationwide partnerships is collected here.
Articles highlighting our data and our media partnerships have appeared in the Harvard Business Review and in JAMA Internal Medicine. We’ve also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, NPR, USA Today and elsewhere. To read more about our work and partnerships, visit our media page.
While we do not have every price for every procedure at every provider across the nation — that data does not exist anywhere — we do have a “community-created guide to health costs” where people can share and search health cost data, as well as explanation and interpretation of the data from our news partners.
To search or share your costs and experiences, click here.
To discuss a potential partnership, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.