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Scott: Hospitals Must Be Transparent To Get Funding

A day after proposing that hospitals post prices online, Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday linked "transparency" to state funding for hospitals.

"If they're going to come back and ask us for more of your tax dollars, because they're your tax dollars we're spending, we ought to know how they are spending the money," along with information about their cost structures and prices, he said.

Scott said he will work with the Legislature on the issues and is trying to make sure that patients won't be "price gouged."

Scott, who has repeatedly targeted hospital costs and regulations in recent months, released a proposal Monday that would require hospitals to post on their websites the prices and average payments received for products and services that they offer.

Also, Scott called for patients to be able to pursue complaints of hospital price gouging with law-enforcement and regulatory agencies. Many hospitals rely heavily on state funding, primarily through Medicaid and what is known as the Low Income Pool program.

After the announcement Monday, Bruce Rueben, president of the Florida Hospital Association, took issue with Scott's assertions of price gouging and said it "doesn't help the discourse to make mean-spirited accusations that are completely unfounded."

Later Monday, the association released a statement saying the hospital industry has backed efforts to create more transparency for patients.

"Florida hospitals have long been public in our support for a responsible approach to transparency,'' Rueben said in the prepared statement. "We are committed to securing meaningful policy that ensures our patients and their families are able to make informed health care decisions."

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