INDIANAPOLIS (February 1, 2023) — Employers’ Forum of Indiana recently announced the first major data update to its nationwide hospital price tool, Sage Transparency™, a free, customizable dashboard that compares metrics of hospital and ASC quality, price, and cost across 4,000 health systems and facilities in 49 states and Washington, D.C. The tool now contains standardized hospital price data from RAND 4.0 Hospital Price Transparency Study and standardized and relative price data of more than 2,000 ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), facilities that perform outpatient surgeries, from across the country. There are also updated price and quality metrics from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP), Turquoise Health, and Healthcare Bluebook included.
Additionally, the Critical Access Hospital (CAH) Indicator now allows users to see which facilities meet this CMS designation. A CAH is a hospital that is located in a rural area with no more than 25 inpatient beds and provides 24/7 emergency care services.
“Our goal is to continue incorporating new data into Sage Transparency™ to provide as much price, quality and cost transparency as possible in a traditionally murky marketplace. We look to inform employers, policymakers, academics, and journalists on the best value for healthcare dollars—in purchasing, plan design, and policymaking,” said Gloria Sachdev, president and CEO of the Employers’ Forum of Indiana. “By expanding the dataset within Sage Transparency™ and updating the tool with the most up-to-date information available, we can make sure it remains useful.”
The inclusion of standardized pricing from the RAND studies allows for more apples to apples comparisons in service line prices between hospitals in the same market and across state lines. Standardized pricing represents the average allowed amount paid to a hospital or ASC per standardized unit of service, where services are standardized using Medicare’s relative weights. Standardized price does not include Medicare payment adjustments for indirect medical education and disproportionate share hospitals, but does include wages.
“While many hospital price comparisons are based on percent of Medicare, standardized price comparisons allow for hospital price comparisons without incorporating additional payments made by Medicare, such as teaching, wage, and disproportionate share adjustments, that may be less relevant to many employers and health care purchasers,” said Chris Whaley, author of the RAND Hospital Price Transparency Studies.
Sage Transparency was developed with support from Arnold Ventures.
“We’re at the point where health care is no longer affordable for American families, employers, and taxpayers,” said Hunter Kellett, the health care director for payor reform at Arnold Ventures. “Sage Transparency™ shines a light on the prices paid to health systems across the country helping to assist purchasers, researchers, and
policymakers to understand what is driving up the cost of health care in this country. Transparency is a key first step on the path toward ultimately creating a more affordable health care system.”
Since the launch in May 2022, Sage Transparency™ has recorded more than 22,000 unique sessions. Stakeholders across the country have utilized the tool to inform their legislative priorities and healthcare purchasing and benefits strategies.
“To keep costs manageable for our team, I’ve had to use data in many different ways—encouraging our team to live healthy lives and making the most out of every healthcare dollar we spend,” said COO of Fort Wayne Community Schools Charles Cammack. “FWCS has used Sage Transparency™ to identify high-value healthcare providers here in Indiana. With continuous updates, it’s an invaluable tool.”
In the first major update to the tool, data providers Turquoise Health and Healthcare Bluebook provided updates to their own data available through the tool.
“Turquoise Health is working to democratize price transparency data posted by hospitals and insurance companies. Sage Transparency™ is a critical piece of that progress, and we’re proud to be powering part of its dashboard. This is a unique entry point of a provider’s pricing transparency journey,” said Joe Wisniewski, Head of Platform Growth at Turquoise Health.
In the coming years, EFI plans to incorporate newly available pricing data from health insurers and the results of the RAND 5.0 Hospital Price Transparency Study into Sage Transparency™. RAND and EFI are currently enrolling participants in the 5.0 study now, learn more here.
About Employers’ Forum of Indiana
The Employers’ Forum of Indiana is a not-for-profit, employer-led multi-stakeholder coalition whose mission is to improve the value payers and patients receive for their healthcare expenditures. Forum members include employers, health plans, hospitals/health systems, providers, and numerous other interested healthcare stakeholders who work collaboratively to improve health care in Indiana.