[Feb. 3, 2018] PALO ALTO, Calif. – San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa and East Palo Alto Mayor Ruben Abrica joined healthcare workers to launch signature gathering for a November 2018 ballot initiative that seeks to protect patients from being overcharged by local healthcare providers, while boosting money spent on patient care.
“When patients come to Stanford Hospital they expect quality care, but they may not know just how much they’re being overcharged for that care,” said Chuck Fonseca, a Certified Nursing Assistant at Stanford University Medical Center. “This ballot initiative will help get healthcare prices under control at Stanford Hospital and other facilities in the city.”
The ballot initiative would limit certain medical facilities in the city from charging patients more than 15 percent above the cost of care, plus quality improvement costs. If a facility exceeds that amount, it will be penalized and must refund the difference to the payer.
High healthcare costs are not necessarily associated with quality care. For example, Stanford University Medical Center charges nearly $73,000 more than the statewide average to treat a patient for alcohol or drug abuse, $60,000 more to treat a patient with kidney failure, and nearly $46,000 more to treat a patient with chest pain.
Despite these higher prices, Stanford University Medical Center struggles in certain aspects of patient care. The number of patients acquiring infections at the hospital is so high that Medicare penalized the facility the last three years.
Approximately 2,408 registered Palo Alto voters need to sign the petition to qualify the measure for the Nov. 6, 2018 election.