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OAHHS transparency effort helps patients get a clearer view of hospital costs

Hospitals understand that patients want information about prices in advance of care. For that reason,  not only has every Oregon hospital committed to providing a cost estimate for hospital services within three business days, they have also begun putting their price data online. These two proactive endeavors are aimed at giving Oregonians as much information about potential costs as is possible.

The hospital transparency website features a “Cost Estimates” and a “Procedure Costs” section for each hospital in the state. The cost estimates section provides comprehensive information for consumers to contact a hospital’s cost estimate and billing department. It also links directly to each hospital’s financial assistance policy, which can be helpful for people who need help paying their bill.

Meanwhile, the “procedure costs” data displayed on the website is the result of proactive work by OAHHS to pass legislation mandating the state produce these data points from its “All Payer All Claims Database.” The procedure cost data shows users what the median price paid by commercial insurers for common inpatient and outpatient procedures at each hospital in the state. It also gives the statewide median price for each procedure.

“Oregon’s community hospitals are proud to lead our state toward a more transparent health care system, starting with a clear picture of prices paid for procedures in their facilities. And, when coupled with the corresponding commitment to provide a good faith estimate for the cost of a procedure, every Oregonian, whether insured, uninsured, or out-of-network can get the financial information they need to make better health care decisions for themselves and their families,” said Andy Davidson, OAHHS President and CEO. “We are very proud of this pro-consumer commitment by Oregon hospitals.”

In addition to this new information, the website, which launched in March of 2015, also provides searchable, comparable quality of care data for every hospital in the state, as well as hospital financial and utilization data – all of which patients can use to learn about their local community hospital.

Key data featured on

  • Contact information and direct links to hospital billing and financial assistance policies
  • Prices paid by insurers for the most common inpatient and outpatient procedures
  • Searchable quality of care data reported by the federal government
  • Key indicators in graph form for individual hospitals including operating margins, payer mix, and uncompensated care in percentage and dollars
  • Key indicators for comparing one or more hospitals including:
    • Average length of stay, average daily census, occupancy rate, surgery mix, and FTEs per adjusted occupied bed.
“We commend OAHHS and its member hospitals for their accomplishments and for their commitment to improving price transparency,” said Healthcare Financial Management Association president and CEO Joseph J. Fifer, FHFMA, CPA. “Oregon is among the first hospital associations in the nation to adopt the recommendations in the HFMA Price Transparency Task Force Report, which reflect the industry consensus on price and quality transparency.”

In spite of all the comparisons and research enables, the best way to make informed health care decisions is still in consultation with their medical professional team.