(KCPW News by Faroe Robinson) The legislature's Health System Reform Task Force discussed implementing a new method of health care pricing this morning, called episode of care. The model would change the billing of procedures to a flat fee rather than charging for each individual service provided by a hospital when a procedure is performed. Representative David Clark says this model would reduce costs and increase quality.
"The episode of care and trying to figure out a pricing model that has both the profit for the overhead as well as the basic cost of the medical services provided we think makes a lot of sense. And then have the industry also have some skin in the game. Not just a fee for activity, but a fee for quality outcomes, and knowing what the range of financial benefit is to them," Clark said.
Clark says the episode of care model would be most cost-efficient if best practices were also defined for each procedure. Healthcare policy expert Doug Emery suggests implementing health information systems to determine the costs of procedures and define best practices.
"What does managing a stage two independent diabetic cost? What is the quality outcome by provider and in health system? That data, that information does not exist now, and so what this suggests is that the possibility of moving in that direction is now feasible and until you move to an episode of care reimbursement paradigm, all of those objectives will be structurally impossible," Emery said.
The task force will discuss these items further on November 11th, when as many as a dozen health care related bills may be introduced.