Florida health price website gets little public attention

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A program pushed by former Gov Rick Scott to help people compare prices and shop for medical procedures has cost taxpayers millions of dollars but has garnered little attention from the public.

The state has paid more than $5 million for the FloridaHealthPriceFinder website over the past three years, according to a review of state financial records. But the site has generated just 131,653 visits since its launch in November 2017, information from the state Agency for Health Care Administration shows.

Despite a lack of visits, AHCA officials remain upbeat about the initiative.

“FloridaHealthPriceFinder is still out there going strong,” Nikole Helvey, bureau chief of the Florida Center for Health Information and Transparency, told members of a health-information advisory committee Thursday.

She also said the state in July began collecting 2019 claims data, which is being reviewed for accuracy and quality. Helvey said the FloridaHealthPriceFinder website will be updated to include the 2019 claims data by spring 2021.

“We’ll be excited to see that information coming through,” she said.

In a statement to The News Service of Florida,  Scott spokeswoman Sarah Schwirian defended the initiative.

“There’s no reason patients shouldn’t know exactly what their procedures and prescriptions cost before they go into the doctor’s office or pharmacy,” she said. “Investing in efforts to increase transparency and lower the cost of health care for American families is worth it.”

Scott, a former hospital-company executive, convinced lawmakers in 2016 to authorize a statewide all-payer claims database that receives information from insurers about how much they reimbursed health providers for medical procedures. That information can then be used for the FloridaHealthPriceFinder website.

Scott, now a U.S. senator, championed health-care cost “transparency” and the establishment of the database after hospitals in 2015 supported a proposal to expand Medicaid eligibility under the

Cannabis VCs explain what it takes for startups to get their attention

  • As the cannabis industry matures, winners have begun to separate themselves from the pack and position themselves as leaders in their categories.
  • VCs are taking notice. They said they’re shifting their investment dollars from early stage firms to growth stage companies that already have a proven track record.
  • According to data from PitchBook, VC investment in cannabis startups cratered this year, as the cannabis bubble burst and investors pulled back during the pandemic.
  • Many investors told us they’re still open to new exceptional startups, however.
  • Business Insider talked to six VCs who say that for a startup to get their attention, the company would need to have solid leadership, an idea that would completely innovate or create a category, and the ability to scale quickly, among other qualities
  • Subscribe to Insider Cannabis for more stories like this.

The crowded cannabis market has thinned out since its boom in late 2018, and investors are becoming more reluctant to invest their cash.

So far this year, VCs have invested about $512 million in cannabis companies, a sharp decline from the $2.1 billion they put to work during the first nine months of 2019, according to data from PitchBook. And the money has shifted somewhat away from early-stage companies to later-stage businesses.

In the first quarter of 2020, VCs invested $71 million into angel- and seed-stage startups, or 46% of the total. In the second quarter of this year, that amount fell by more than half to $32 million. This quarter, angel and seed-stage firms have raised about $39 million, or 20% of the total funding.

Read more: Here are the top 14 venture-capital firms making deals in the cannabis industry, and where they’re looking to place their next bets

Many investors told us that they’re still open to startups with short track