A new Web site will allow patients to compare the prices and quality of health providers in Minnesota, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. The effort, unveiled Wednesday, had the backing of the state's top officials, and the cooperation of up to 85 percent of the state's medical group. "If we're going to move toward consumer empowerment in health care reform and more consumer choice in the health care delivery system, we have to give consumers and purchasers better information," Gov. Tim Pawlenty said. The site, mnhealthscores.org, uses data about the average price paid by health insurance plans, and covers 100 common procedures.
The Pioneer Press adds: "Jim Chase, president of Minnesota Community Measurement, the nonprofit that created and operates the site, said it lists prices charged by 110 medical groups statewide. Those groups represent 80 percent to 85 percent of primary care providers in Minnesota, he estimated, but it does not cover specialty care. Chase doesn't expect a patient to shop for the best price for a colonoscopy, for instance. But he said it would help consumers pick health care providers that provide the most affordable and best-quality care. He acknowledged that comparing costs and quality on the site is complicated" (Salisbury, 8/26).