Washington hospitals should be judged based on their own performance, not by the experiences in other states. Also, when comparing hospital performance across states, data should be adjusted for case mix as well as per capita hospital use. That was some of the advice given to the state’s Health Care Cost Transparency Board during a June 2 Provider and Carrier Advisory Committee meeting by Mike Marsh, CEO Overlake, and Dr. Mika Sinanan, a physician with UW Medicine. Both are members of one of the Board’s advisory committees, representing WSHA and the Washington State Medical Association, respectively, and were active participants in its recent committee meeting.
The June meeting featured a presentation by two consultants who used Medicare cost report data to analyze the performance of Colorado hospitals. The analysis showed Colorado hospitals had extremely high payments, costs, and margins per hospital discharge. The analysis also sought to demonstrate that an increase in Medicaid hospital payments did nothing to mute the rate of increase in hospital’s commercial rates. In its May meeting, the Cost Transparency Board hired the same consultants for a similar data analysis on Washington hospitals.
The Committee also had a discussion on what the Board needs to understand about hospital costs. Committee members offered a broad range of potential topics including not-for-profit status, global budgeting, and critical access hospital payments. WSHA is currently in conversation with the staff at the Cost Transparency Board on ways it can use its analytic expertise to help with a data analysis on hospital costs and help address some of the additional questions. (Katerina LaMarche, KaterinaL@wsha.org)