CMS to audit hospitals for compliance with price transparency rule in January

CMS will begin auditing a sample of hospitals for compliance with its new price transparency rule in January, the agency said Dec. 18. 

The Hospital Price Transparency final rule takes effect Jan. 1. The rule requires hospitals to post standard charges online, which are defined as: gross charges, discounted cash prices, payer-specific negotiated charges, de-identified minimum negotiated charges and de-identified maximum negotiated charges. It also requires hospitals to publicize 300 shoppable services in a consumer-friendly manner. 

CMS said it will audit a sample of hospitals, investigate complaints submitted to CMS and review analyses of non-compliance. 

Hospitals not in compliance may face civil penalties, CMS said. 

CMS added that it will first provide a written warning to hospitals of the violation, request a corrective action plan and then impose a fine of up to $300 per day and publicize the penalty.

The American Hospital Association is challenging the rule in court and asking HHS to delay the implementation of the rule due to the additional burden it would place on hospitals amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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