Hospitals in less competitive regions have higher price transparency compliance, study finds

Hospitals in less competitive hospital referral regions and hospital systems with greater market shares are more compliant with CMS' price transparency rules, a study published June 24 in JAMA Health Forum found.

The study examined all 4,484 acute care hospitals in the U.S., representing 2,892 hospital systems in 306 referral regions and their level of compliance with CMS' requirement for hospitals to "release the prices they negotiate with insurance plans to make price comparison across hospitals easier for consumers." The study found a strong relationship between level of compliance and the competitiveness of a hospital's region. 

According to the study, there was "a negative association between compliance and market competitiveness; compliance was higher in less competitive HRRs … and for hospital systems with greater market shares." This relationship remained the same when controlling for the number of beds. 

The study authors noted one limitation in their findings; by defining compliance as "based on availability of payer-specific negotiated prices," they "omitted other CMS requirements such as availability of a shoppable service tool. A more stringent definition would likely lead to lower measured compliance rates."

The Journal of General Internal Medicine published a prior study in June 2021 that found similar results, which continued through the end of 2021, despite a vast increase in compliance overall. 

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