HCA says it's open to rule on publishing hospital rates, welcomes competition

Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare said it is receptive to a proposed hospital price transparency rule from CMS and the competitive opportunities it could bring, according to Nashville Public Radio.

The proposed rule — which is included in the 2020 Outpatient Prospective Payment System proposed rule released July 29 — would require hospitals to publish the rates they negotiate with payers for hundreds of services consumers are likely to shop for in a searchable and consumer-friendly manner. The price transparency requirements build upon a previous federal rule, which took effect Jan. 1 and requires hospitals to publish their standard charges on the internet.

Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and HHS Secretary Alex Azar have provided generally positive feedback about the latest hospital price transparency effort, while major U.S. hospital associations have spoken out against it.

HCA executives said the for-profit hospital operator is receptive to the latest effort and plans to weigh in on the proposed rule during the comment period, according to Nashville Public Radio.

According to the station, William B. Rutherford, CFO and executive vice president of HCA, said: "We don't know exactly where we stand relative to others in the marketplace, and we think that will create some opportunities, maybe some challenges there. But we think the HCA system will stand up well on a price transparency view."

Mr. Rutherford reportedly made the remarks during a quarterly earnings conference call with analysts. HCA reported that revenue increased year over year in the second quarter of 2019, but the company's net income fell. After second-quarter earnings were released, shares of HCA dropped up to 12 percent in early morning trading July 30, according to The Motley Fool, an Alexandria, Va.-based financial services company.

 

 

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