14% of hospitals comply with price transparency, survey finds: 4 things to know

In a survey of 1,000 hospitals, 14.3 percent were compliant with the federal price transparency rule that took effect Jan. 1, 2021, a February report by patientrightsadvocate.org found.

Under the rule, hospitals must post all prices online in an easily accessible format.

In the survey, the organization analyzed the websites of 1,000 licensed, randomly selected hospitals in the U.S. First, 500 were selected for a July 2021 report, and an additional 500 were selected for this report.

Four things to know:

1. About thirty-eight percent of hospitals post an adequate amount of negotiated rates. More than half are not compliant in other areas of the rule, like rates by each insurer and named plan.

2. None of Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare's 188 hospitals were compliant. One of Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health's 88 hospitals was found compliant and one of St. Louis-based Ascension's 85 hospitals was found compliant. The three systems had a combined total revenue of about $120 billion in 2021; the cost of compliance with the rule is $12,000 per hospital, according to the report.

3. The most common act of noncompliance was not posting prices or incomplete posting of all negotiated prices for each item or service from the hospital's accepted payers and plans.

4. The July 2021 report found that 5.6 percent of 500 hospitals were compliant.

"Unfortunately, the vast majority of hospitals remain noncompliant after more than a year has passed since the Hospital Price Transparency rule took effect," Cynthia Fisher, founder and chair of patientsrightsadvocate.org, said in a Feb. 10 news release. "Hospitals' omission of comparative price information in advance of care blocks consumers from benefiting from knowing the competition, seeking fair and equitable prices, and having the choice to lower their costs."

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