putnam county memorial hosptial

Dan Margolies / KCUR

No one at the hospital in Fulton, Missouri (population 12,790) had ever heard of a management consultant named Jorge Perez until he showed up at its potluck in September.


Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

Before you buy a computer, or a used car or even a pair of pants, you probably know the price you'll pay. The same is not always true when buying health care.  But as people pay and more of their health care costs—thanks in part to high-deductible health plans—there's growing demand to know prices upfront. It's a concept known as price transparency.

One hospital in rural Missouri is catering to that demand, by developing a price-list for medical procedures. For help, the hospital is turning to a group who've been getting price transparency for years: the Amish and Mennonites. 

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

When cattle farmer Greg Fleshman joined the board of Putnam County Memorial Hospital in rural northern Missouri in 2011, the hospital was on the brink of closing.

“Things we just falling apart financially and the morale of the employees. And it just seemed to get worse and worse,” he recalls. “Those were the darkest days.”