Bill would create health care Web site

Nevada lawmakers reviewed a bill Tuesday that would require the state to set up a Web site and phone services to give Nevadans information on hospital costs and quality.

AB146 would require hospitals provide the information to the Department of Health and Human Services, which would post it to the Web site.

Chuck Duarte, administrator for the Division of Health Care Financing and Policy, said he was concerned about how the program would work.

"I want to make sure it's feasible and doable without extra costs to the state or the hospitals," Duarte told an Assembly Health and Human Services subcommittee.

Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, didn't have an estimate on how much the program would cost. She said her intent was not to make hospitals do anything they aren't already doing.

"My understanding is most of the quality indicators are currently being reported in one form or another to the feds, to the state, and so we want to manipulate that data in a way that is useful to the consumer," Leslie said after the meeting.

Robin Keith with Nevada Rural Hospital Partners Foundation was concerned about how quality indicators could be measured, and how to report statistics on procedures rural hospitals don't often perform, such as survival rates for quadruple bypass surgery.

"I'm asking that we not ask the rural hospitals to collect a bunch of meaningless data, and it's meaningless because they don't do enough of these procedures," Keith said.

Leslie said she'd take another look at what the other states are doing.

Leslie also is pushing a companion bill, AB232, that would require more than 500 Nevada pharmacies to submit to the state Board of Pharmacy their prices for monthly supplies of the 100 most common name-brand and generic drugs. The prices then would be posted to a separate Web site than the hospital consumer Web site.

"They are both about transparency in health care and helping consumers stretch their health care dollars," Leslie said.

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