Catalyst for Payment Reform

The companion to the RAND Price Transparency Data purchasers have been waiting for

The companion to the RAND Price Transparency Data purchasers have been waiting for

In July 2019, CPR’s Executive Director Suzanne Delbanco published a commentary for Modern Healthcare likening the RAND Corporation’s Hospital Price Transparency Study to “opening Pandora’s box.” The study revealed which hospitals across 25 states are being paid the highest prices and found that, on average, private payers are paying hospitals about 2.7 times what Medicare pays them for the same services. CPR has been tracking the study’s repercussions nationally, and, as Suzanne predicted, we’ve seen an increase in interest for employer strategies pegged to provider prices. For example, Monarch Beverages and Purdue University presented their use of the RAND results to drive referrals to higher-value providers as part of CPR’s Fall 2019 Innovative Employers webinar series.

The experiences of these two innovative purchasers drove home a point that is central in CPR’s work helping employers and other health care purchasers get better value for their health care dollar: value is the combination of cost and quality. It’s not enough to just know hospital prices; employers and other health care purchasers must weave that information into a strategy that also takes into account quality of care. Purchasers must also be strategic about the accompanying benefit design, or consumer-facing side of the equation, in order to succeed at connecting plan members to high-value providers and maintaining sufficient access to care services.

Simply put, it’s not easy for employer-purchasers to put the RAND study results to use. That’s why Employers’ Forum of Indiana asked CPR to help build out its Employer Price Transparency Project website as a resource to guide more employers on how to take action. We are happy to announce that the revamped website is finally live! Now purchasers have more information at their fingertips to help them become “Super Purchasers.” (Watch the Video)

Take a look at the four sections the Employer Price Transparency website now offers:

  1. Understand the Problem, which explores the root causes of hospital price variation;
  2. RAND Hospital Price Transparency Studies, which includes the download link to the RAND 2.0 data set as well as an interactive map of hospital prices;
  3. Compare Hospital Quality, which examines sources of quality data, their strengths and limitations, and offers guidance on how to pick the right measures to assess hospital value; and
  4. Take Action, which provides resources to help purchasers translate their knowledge into action.

We encourage everyone to explore the website and contact CPR at if you have any questions.

Photo by adrian on Unsplash.

Listen to CPR’s Director of Projects & Research, Julianne McGarry, speak with Christopher Whaley, lead author of the Price Transparency studies.

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