Saint Alphonsus Health CEO on price transparency: 'We do not view patients as consumers or shoppers'

Odette Bolano, president and CEO of Boise, Idaho-based Saint Alphonsus Health System, addressed CMS' new price transparency rule in an op-ed in the Idaho Statesman.

The rule, which took effect Jan. 1, requires hospitals to publish their standard charges online. They must present the information in a machine-readable format that can be easily imported into a computer system and update the information at least annually.

In her op-ed, Ms. Bolano said that as a Catholic healthcare provider, Saint Alphonsus Health is "rooted in the conviction that mission-driven healthcare is a ministry of healing and is not in the business of selling a service or commodity."

She continued: "Buying healthcare is much more complicated than buying services or large items such as a car or home. It is a much deeper personal experience and decisions have lifelong consequences, not only for the individual, but also for family and loved ones. In Catholic healthcare, our focus is on the dignity of the patient, and we do not view patients as 'consumers or shoppers.'"

While Ms. Bolano said using a price estimator is a good first step for patients seeking more information on healthcare costs, she recommended patients call their insurance provider or hospital to get more personalized estimates.

To read the full op-ed, click here.

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