From insurance plans to hospitals’ reports, Maine lags in providing easy access, especially online.
By DIETER BRADBURY, Portland Press Herald
March 15, 2009
As health care costs continue to rise, Joe Ditre keeps hearing that people need to be smart shoppers when they choose insurance policies, doctors and hospitals.
But as the director of Consumers for Affordable Health Care, a coalition of nonprofit consumer advocacy groups in Maine, Ditre believes that’s easier said than done.
He said the state offers little online information to help the public compare insurance plans, charges for medical procedures or the quality of service among doctors or hospitals.
“The reality is that you can’t find this information,” Ditre said.
A new study of online access to state government information finds that Maine does a relatively poor job of making public information easily available through the Internet.
The study, based on a national survey conducted by newspaper and broadcast journalists, state press associations and other journalism groups, ranked Maine 39th among the 50 states in providing access to 20 kinds of public records.
The survey was released in connection with Sunshine Week, an annual nationwide effort by journalism groups to draw attention to the public’s right to know.