Opinion: Tahoe Forest Hospital needs to lower costs to patients | SierraSun.com

Opinion: Tahoe Forest Hospital needs to lower costs to patients

Thank you for the interview in the March 30 Sierra Sun with the new CEO at Tahoe Forest Health District, Harry Weis.

As he mentioned, TFHD “really has to earn the desire of the public to choose us … they have many choices out there.”

The reason people are choosing care elsewhere is because of the high costs for services. Patients are getting more engaged in the process of making choices, driven by rising deductibles and co-pays, and they are asking more questions.

The current chargemaster rate system perpetuates the idea that health care services are too complicated to have actual prices. Ask the price of anything and the answer is always the same: What insurance do you have?

As Mr. Weis is aware, the “list price,” or chargemaster rates, are approximately 3 to 10 times more than the real prices billed to the 90% of patients who are insured and are widely recognized as phony, having no relationship to either cost or value.

TFHD needs to be competitive by eliminating the chargemaster pricing system and engaging consumers who are shopping and win their business with the true prices for services. Patients are looking to websites such as newchoicehealth.com to help make smart health care decisions. TFHD needs to be proactive in providing this information.

We all know that Tahoe Forest can compete on the basis of quality — it is time to move forward and remove the barriers that keep TFH from competing on the basis of price as well.

Ronda Brooks, MSN, RN, NP

Truckee