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Rick Scott healthcare commission launches a ‘transparency’ tour aimed at hospitals that won’t fork over financial data

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

A blue-ribbon panel created to examine taxpayer-funded healthcare costs will hit the road meeting in Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami in the next two months, inviting the lowest and highest performing facilities in the region to address the panel.

The Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding meets in Tallahassee on June 4 but will kick off its “Spotlight Transparency Tour” in Tampa on June 17. It will meet in Jacksonville sometime the week of June 29 and will meet in Miami sometime the week of July 13. The press release does not include the criteria hospitals will be judged on to rank their performance.

Naming the commission’s visits the “Transparency Tour” could be a dig at the hospitals that have not taken the time to provide the commission detailed information requested by the governor, who sent the hospitals a universal form to fill out.

While some of the facilities responded with detailed information, other hospitals advised the agency where they could find the information. The agency requested again on May 23 that the hospitals provide the information on the form again. And on May 26, the agency issued a press release identifying the names of the facilities who responded in full to the data call and the names of the facilities who did not respond at all or partially complied by providing incomplete information.

The press release does not separate the list of facilities that partially complied versus those that didn’t respond at all.

The Florida Hospital Association sent the commission a letter noting that given the commission’s focus on the effective use of tax dollars, “we suggest a good place to start is with the efficient use of data collection. Healthcare data collection is costly and time consuming. It is unnecessary to create new data formats when a nationally recognized data source already exists. It is also extremely inefficient to collect data that is not comparable. Policy decisions should be made on uniform data such as Florida Hospital Uniform Reporting System (FHURS) data.”

The responses have frustrated commission chair Carlos Beruff, who questioned why the hospitals wouldn’t provide the information.

“I don’t understand how they don’t want to help us help them,” Beruff.

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