Health care prices vary widely across Texas – new website shows how much
Texas 2036’s new online tool examines the differences in prices for the same health care services, the implications for patients and taxpayers, and significant information gaps
AUSTIN, TX – Texas 2036’s new online dashboard — which shows health care pricing data in an easy-to-visualize format — vividly demonstrates price discrepancies that help drive higher and higher government spending, insurance costs, out-of-pocket spending, and health-related inflation – but also how few hospitals are providing pricing data in compliance with transparency laws.
Texas 2036 began researching this data as part of an effort to evaluate the true prices of various health care services around the state. However, inconsistent compliance with state and federal hospital price transparency laws limited what pricing data was available. So, as a first step, the organization focused on data provided by hospitals and their compliance with these laws.
“The data available as of this spring suggests that only about 31 percent of Texas hospitals are mostly compliant with state and federal law,” says Charles Miller, senior policy advisor for health care at Texas 2036. “But even when data might be available, a lack of standards makes it really difficult to utilize. There’s a lot of room for improvement.”
To help facilitate those improvements, Texas 2036 is offering recommendations to make the data more accessible, including the adoption of a clear data standard that could encourage and improve reporting and provide researchers with better data for analysis.
These data files offer the potential for a unique and vital reference point for Texas legislators and leaders as they consider options for reducing health care spending while maintaining high levels of care and access in every part of Texas, said Texas 2036 Vice President of Data and Analytics Dr. Holly Heard.
“By spotlighting and addressing market inefficiencies, we hope to help lawmakers and all Texans get better care at a better price – especially those communities disproportionately affected by high health care prices,” Heard said. “The disclosure of health care pricing data has the potential to significantly improve our understanding of health care markets.”
The new public dashboard, which can be found at pricetransparency.Texas2036.org, represents the most comprehensive, publicly available Texas health care pricing transparency tool to date. It analyzes pricing data for a range of health procedures and services, both statewide and within 11 Public Health Regions — providing Texans a snapshot of how prices for the same health care services vary among different hospitals, payers, and geographic regions.
As part of an ongoing effort by federal agencies to empower employers and consumers to make more informed decisions about their health care spending, federal law required hospitals operating in the United States to provide clear, accessible pricing information about their services beginning January 1, 2021. Texas passed a similar law that went into effect in September of that year.
Working with data science firm January Advisors, Texas 2036 attempted to locate and download data for 644 hospitals in Texas. Analysts then reviewed and classified each of the data files. As of April 2022, key findings include:
- Only 65% of hospitals had made pricing data available in a way that researchers were able to access it.
- 31% of hospitals were mostly compliant with the law, meaning that they listed standard charges, cash prices, minimum and maximum negotiated rates, and insurer-specific rates in their data. It is unclear whether the lists include all services offered at each hospital.
- Most large hospital systems in Texas are missing key pieces of data, such as insurer-specific rates.
- Comparisons between hospitals are often difficult or impossible due to issues with the availability and formatting of hospital codes and insurer-specific information.
Most insurers and employers were required to disclose their own transparency files as of July 1, 2022, and beginning in 2024 will be required to provide their enrollees with consumer-friendly comparison shopping tools that show consumers their out-of-pocket costs for specific providers.
To learn more about health care pricing transparency in Texas and access the data, visit: https://texas2036.org/health-care-price-transparency
About Texas 2036
Texas 2036 is a nonprofit organization building long-term, data-driven strategies to secure Texas’ prosperity through our state’s bicentennial and beyond. We offer non-partisan ideas and modern solutions that are grounded in research and data on issues that matter most to all Texans. For more information, visit www.texas2036.org.
Spring expected to be slow to warm up
The first “official” day of Spring arrives March 20 sparking the anticipation of gardeners, farmers and ranchers who look forward to sunshine and warmth.
In the northern hemisphere spring will arrive at 5:24 p.m. on March 20 with the arrival of the spring equinox. However, the season on paper may differ from the actual forecast which the Farmer’s Almanac predicts may take its time in arriving and weather.com agrees.
According to the long-range outlook, temperatures will be slow to warm, in fact unseasonably cold temperatures may have their grip on parts of the nation. “We are predicting a soggy, shivery spring ahead,” states the almanac’s forecast. Weather.com forecasts March-May to be warmer than usual from the Southwest to the Southeast.
It continues it will be a wet and cool season for most places, in the southwest temperatures will be rising quickly. Spring will be “unusually active” over the nation’s heartland with frequent heavy to severe thunderstorms predicted.
Read the full story on what spring may bring in your weekend Bowie News including forecasts for rain and temperatures, the future of cattle and planning your garden.
Process to find a new 97th judge is underway in governor’s office
Applications are being accepted through April 15 for those interested in being appointed to fill out the term of 97th District Judge Jack McGaughey who submitted his resignation effective May 31.
The longtime district judicial officer has served in different capacities for 36 years including district attorney and the last 10 as district judge. He also worked several years as county attorney and assistant DA.
In late January McGaughey confirmed he planned on stepping down prior to the conclusion of his present term at the end of 2024.
The judge said since his retirement became public he has received nothing but support and good wishes from friends and supporters. He looks forward to more time with his wife, plus time with family and friends.
His successor will be chosen by Gov. Greg Abbott and that person will serve the remainder of the term after which there will be a regular primary election for the 97th Judicial District that includes Archer, Clay and Montague Counties.
The application process takes place through the governor’s appointments office where interested persons fill out an extensive pair of applications.
Read the full story in the weekend Bowie News.
Bowie School Trustees may consider four-day week calendar recommendation
Returning from spring break, the staff of Bowie Independent School District will provide a series of updates to the school board including a possible recommendation for the 2023-24 calendar.
The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. on March 21, moved from the regular night due to the holiday break. A four-day school week has been in discussion for several months as other county schools go to four-day. Nocona ISD two weeks ago voted to make the changes, leaving just Bowie, Saint Jo and Forestburg the only county schools not on some form of the shorter week.
A district survey of parents and staff indicated about 70% supported the change. A recent public meeting outlined the possible options with less than 30 people in attendance, many of whom were teachers and staff.
School calendar consideration and the purchase of welders not to exceed $45,000 for the career technology program are the only action items.
Superintendent Blake Enlow will report to the board about the December water damage in school buildings, give updates on the facilities committee and Enterprise Fleet Management. Other administrators also will give monthly reports.
NEWS4 months ago
2 hurt, 1 jailed after shooting incident north of Nocona
NEWS3 months ago
Wreck takes the life of BHS teen, 16
NEWS2 months ago
Bowie Police face three-hour standoff after possible domestic fight
NEWS4 months ago
Driver stopped by a man running into the street, robbed at knifepoint
NEWS4 months ago
City of Bowie being sued over tract of lakefront property
COUNTY LIFE2 months ago
Funny, thoughtful, faithful used to describe Colby Price
NEWS3 months ago
OSBI calls missing Randlett, OK man a ‘suspicious disappearance’
NEWS4 months ago
Bowie man arrested in cruelty to livestock case