POLICY/PHYSICIANS: Full disclosure, well not really

There’s been a lot of debate about transparency on THCB. I believe in as full disclosure as possible about all kinds of medical data, including pay rates, utilization rates, quality indicators, etc, etc. But I also count myself among the enlightened few who realize that the individual piece-rate service level is not the place at which consumers are best qualified to make comparison judgments about the value of their care. I liken it to the computer purchaser at a corporation—sure you want to know the individual prices of the computers you buy, but what’s really important is the total cost of ownership divided by the benefit you get from them. Or take a motoring analogy, as Glen Tullman CEO of Allscripts does over at HHN on a different topic—you want to know the total cost per year for purchase, insurance, gas, repair, etc, etc for your car. You don’t care in great detail how much your mechanic charges you for an individual spark plug so that you can go to Pep boys and buy one cheaper. Instead you want to know the rough overall cost between a Yugo versus a Camry versus a Jaguar, and then within each class. That’s what the managed competition model is trying to get to.

Of course transparency does help. Joe Paduda is right when he finds the Administration’s position on not releasing Medicare physician data is too, say the least, a little odd. Unlike most of their information releases these days, this one is apparently legal and makes sense for the nation. Although I understand why the Business Roundtable is for it and equally why the AMA is no doubt against it.

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