Fewer than half of hospitals display chargemaster data on their sites, despite CMS requirements

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Most hospitals are failing to comply with all of CMS' price transparency requirements, according to a study published May 14 in JAMA Network Open.

CMS' rule, which took effect Jan.1, aims to make hospital pricing information readily available to patients to compare costs and make more informed healthcare decisions. To aid with this, hospitals in the U.S. are required to post both a machine-readable file with the negotiated rates for all items and services and display the prices of 300 shoppable services in a consumer-friendly format. 

Researchers looked at 5,288 hospitals associated with a website and found that just 48.5 percent of them had chargemaster data on their websites. They also found 305 institutions had broken links or incorrectly linked files, and 138 hospitals only had online cost estimators.

"Even when publicly accessible, chargemasters were frequently buried within websites and difficult to use accurately," the study authors wrote. "This work calls into question the effectiveness of CMS rulings to promote price transparency and highlights the challenges of creating effective price transparency tools for consumers."

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