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How Transparency Efforts Helped One System’s Financial Turnaround

Purves, Stephen A. FACHE

Frontiers of Health Services Management: Spring 2019 - Volume 35 - Issue 3 - p 3–13
doi: 10.1097/HAP.0000000000000051
Feature Articles

SUMMARY Healthcare consumerism, costs, and price transparency are garnering unprecedented attention from hospitals and health systems in the United States. To many observers of the US healthcare delivery system, the inability to provide accurate pricing information and the variability in prices for comparable services are utter failures of the administrative infrastructure that supports patient care processes.

Price transparency and the affordability of healthcare have also become top concerns for professional and trade organizations, which are devoting significant resources to assist member institutions in facing these issues. In many states, elected officials have passed legislation requiring pricing support for consumers. When the value equation (cost divided by quality) is considered, comparisons of healthcare providers can become even more confusing.

Price transparency and demonstration of cost-effective, high-quality service to patients have become strategic imperatives at Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS). A safety-net system and one of Arizona’s largest providers of graduate medical education and other teaching programs, MIHS faced an operating deficit of more than $74 million in fiscal year 2014. In 2015, financial concerns prompted the CEO and board to hold weekly meetings to appraise cash availability and management interventions. Over the next four years, MIHS achieved a cumulative improvement in net income of more than $150 million. Today, MIHS is reinventing itself through a major capital campaign made possible in part by a $935 million public bond referendum passed by the voters of Maricopa County. Ultimately, our ability to better serve the community involves connecting with our patients and addressing their need for price transparency.

Stephen A. Purves, FACHE,is presidentand CEO of Maricopa Integrated Health System in Phoenix, Arizona.

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

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© 2019 Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives
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