State auditor, Doug Hoffer has just released a report on the database employed by the Green Mountain Care Board to keep tabs on costs and other trackable indicators concerning health care provided to Vermonters.
“The Vermont Health Care Uniform Reporting and Evaluation System (VHCURES) is a digital catalogue of all fees for medical services and products that insurers paid over the last seven years for Vermont residents.”
While the report does not represent an actual audit of the system, it does provide thoughtful insight into how the database might better serve to inform individual Vermonters of their healthcare choices.
Release of the report coincides with efforts by the GMCB to entertain bids from contractors to overhaul the existing system. It’s observations will hopefully guide the Board in evaluating which contractor can provide the most accessible solutions for the public, as that is where the Auditor finds that the current the database system falls short.
As more and more Vermonters are opting for higher deductibles and therefore becoming directly responsible for a higher percentage of the cost of the healthcare services provided to them, it is crucial that they have the necessary tools to make informed choices.
Those tools must provide information not only on comparative costs but on quality of care as well. The goal is to move toward greater accountability so that, equipped with the facts and figures before they go in for procedures, consumers may effect some control over the marketplace.
Coming so soon after the software glitches that plagued the Healthcare Connect roll-out, it’s nice to see a proactive interest from the Auditor’s Office in giving Vermonters a much more rewarding experience with VHCURES.
Information is power; and it can be hoped that, armed with the information gleaned from a more transparent and accessible healthcare database, consumers will demand greater efficiencies in order to bring the escalating cost of healthcare under control.
A man of the people, Hoffer is always looking for ways to better serve the interests of ordinary Vermonters. No surprise that he has no challenger in the November election.