Health and Family Services Cabinet
Governor Announces Support for Federal Health Care Transparency Initiatives
Governor Ernie Fletcher today announced his support for federal initiatives to provide consumers with better information about the quality and cost of their health care.
“Improving information on the cost and quality of health care and making it easily accessible are key aspects of my strategy to make health care better for families in Kentucky,” said Governor Fletcher. “We are answering the call made by President Bush and Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt to give people the tools they need to make health care decisions.”
During the 2005 and 2006 legislative sessions, the Fletcher administration successfully pushed legislation that gives Kentuckians better access to information on cost and quality of health care procedures. As a result, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services is working with the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Transparency to develop a Web site for people to access this information easily and quickly.
“Kentucky is taking the lead in empowering consumers and giving them the cost and quality information they need to make informed decisions about health care for themselves and their families,” said Governor Fletcher.
On Aug. 22, President Bush issued an executive order that mandates sharing of information about quality of care delivered by doctors and hospitals and prices paid for services. In addition, the order promotes the adoption of standards for exchanging health information and insurance options that reward consumers who exercise choice among health providers based on value and quality of care.
Kentucky is following suit by looking at ways to integrate federal guidelines into its health care purchasing decisions and by including a consumer-directed plan as an option for state employees.
Today’s announcement follows a number of actions taken by the Fletcher administration in recent months to improve health care for Kentuckians. Those efforts include:
· Making health insurance more affordable for small employers and working families through the I-CARE program.
· Helping Kentuckians live healthier and more active lives through the Governor’s Wellness and Physical Activity Initiative.
· Expanding access to affordable consumer directed plan options for state employees and small businesses.
· Redesigning the Medicaid program to ensure a more sustainable, cost-effective program in the future.
· Expanding the use of e-Health in the state to improve the quality and efficiency of health care.
“Our efforts to increase health care transparency and improve information sharing demonstrate our commitment to improving the health and well-being of our fellow Kentuckians,” said CHFS Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell. “The Fletcher administration has made health care a top priority and this is another great example of how we’re working to achieve that goal.”