WASHINGTON, D.C. — A step for more healthcare transparency has been taken by President Donald Trump and his administration that will affect West Virginians.

Last Monday, Trump signed an executive order making pricing and more information on healthcare to be readily available for patients.

“The whole focus and meaning of this is to put patients first and to empower patients with information to make informed choices,” Matthew E. Baker, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Regional Director told MetroNews.

Baker, who mans the region of Washington D.C., Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, said the requirements will vary.

They could include making hospitals publicly disclose prices that reflect what patients and insurers actually pay in an easy to read patient-friendly format, make information on out of pocket spending more readily available before a patient receives care, and allow for researchers, innovators and providers more access to provide patients on prices and quality of the product.

Baker said that patients have been asking for information on services and products before they go into surgery, treatment or diagnostic check-up.

He added that this order will increase competition, thus help lower healthcare costs.

“By improving transparency and promoting competition and advancing more affordability and control, that gives a great by-product of quality that patients deserve,” Baker said.

“We want to bring down healthcare costs, we want to bring down drug prices to help the elderly, poor and needy because healthcare can be expensive and we believe this will enhance not only quality and transparency but competition and lower costs.”

Baker said the next 60 to 90 days will be proposed rulemaking on this order followed by all stakeholders, patient advocates, and other groups to add comments, ending the rulemaking process.

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