Sanborn bill to promote transparency in health care spending signed into law

Posted: June 11, 2019 | Senator Linda Sanborn

AUGUSTA – Legislation from Sen. Linda Sanborn, D-Gorham, to improve transparency in primary health care spending, was signed into law by Gov. Janet Mills on Friday. The bill, LD 1353, “An Act To Establish Transparency in Primary Health Care Spending,” would promote more efficient and effective health care services by requiring regular reporting of primary care spending in Maine.

“Access to quality primary care is critical to improving public health and lowering health care costs,” said Sen. Sanborn. “I’m glad the governor has signed this bill to promote transparency and access to such a vital part of our health care system.”

Quality primary care has been shown to lower health care costs, increase patient satisfaction and reduce hospitalizations, emergency department visits and mortality. In the U.S., spending on office visits to primary care providers declined six percent between 2012 and 2016, while spending on specialists increased 31 percent over the same time period. Underinvestment in primary care has proven to have a number of negative impacts, including decreased access to needed preventative services, poorer behavioral health outcomes and a disincentivized primary care workforce.

LD 1353 would require insurers to report primary care expenditures to the Maine Health Data Organization and for the Maine Quality Forum to report this data annually. The bill also requires the Maine Quality Forum to conduct a study on best practices in health care spending reporting and submit its findings to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee.

LD 1353 will go into effect 90 days after the Maine Legislature adjourns sine die.