34.5% of hospitals complying with price transparency rule, report says

A PatientRightsAdvocate.org report from Feb. 29 found that just 689 (34.5%) of 2,000 hospitals it examined were fully compliant with federal price transparency rules. 

That is down from 721 (36%) that were found to be fully compliant from the organization's last report, released in July. 

Six things to know:

1. The report found 1,311 hospitals were not in full compliance. The most common reason for noncompliance was missing or significantly incomplete pricing data. 

2. Eighty-seven (4.4%) hospitals did not post a usable standard charges file. 

3. The report found that 100% of hospitals owned by Community Health Systems (Franklin, Tenn.); 96% of hospitals owned by Universal Health Services (King of Prussia, Pa.); 93% of hospitals owned by Christus Health (Irving, Texas); 85% of hospitals owned by CommonSpirit Health (Chicago); and 84% of hospitals owned by Advocate Health (Charlotte, N.C.) were found to be in full compliance.

4. No hospitals were found to be compliant from HCA Healthcare (Nashville, Tenn.); Tenet Healthcare (Dallas); Providence (Renton, Wash.); Kaiser Permanente (Oakland, Calif.); Avera Health (Sioux Falls, S.D.); UPMC (Pittsburgh); Baylor Scott & White Health (Dallas); and Mercy (St. Louis). 

5. Previously, 98% of Kaiser Permanente hospitals were found to be fully compliant, but Kaiser now posts multiple files for each hospital, instead of a single file as required by the rule, so now none are compliant, according to the report. 

6. The analysis found that 135 hospitals that were previously compliant are now noncompliant. 

The American Hospital Association has pushed back against price transparency compliance reports from groups other than CMS. The AHA has argued that these groups are ignoring CMS' guidance on aspects of the rule, such as how to fill in an individual negotiated rate when such a rate does not exist due to patient services being bundled and billed together. 

As of March 1, CMS has fined 14 hospitals for price transparency violations, according to its enforcement website. Eight of those hospitals have appealed their fines, which are under review.  

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