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Amid heated debate, FHA unveils new health care info site

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It’s no secret Gov. Rick Scott, former health care CEO, has a newfound zeal for protecting Floridians from mayhem wrought by allegedly out-of-control hospitals and providers.

Scott insists on more regulations, disclosure, and even criminal penalties for providers who charge “unconscionable” rates. He has even gone so as far to say a bill towards that end currently circulating doesn’t go far enough.

In a conference call with reporters Tuesday morning, Florida Hospital Association President Bruce Rueben begged to differ.

FHA unveiled a new “hospital price and quality tool” on its Mission to Care website, which the group says features “publicly available information on hospital prices and quality in an easy-to-use, searchable format.”

“There’s been a lot of talk lately about the need for consumers to better understand health care costs,” said Rueben. “We want it to be clear that we are committed to providing meaningful information about the cost and quality of care. This is a first step. This is something we can do quickly” – and, decisively – “without legislation.”

The newly revamped site essentially compiles and organizes already-published information. Its main sources of data are the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration’s 2014 reports, a December 2015 study by the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

FHA Vice President for Public Affairs Kim Streit said the new site is “one of many resources” FHA has made or will make available to consumers.

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Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to FloridaPolitics.com and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at ryan@floridapolitics.com.

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