How the government can boost hospital price transparency, per Turquoise Health

Health technology company Turquoise Health published its first "Price Transparency Impact Report" Oct. 18, which highlighted needs for further government action to boost hospital price transparency compliance. 

Here are three ways Turquoise Health said federal and state governments can work to improve compliance:

1. Enforcement of hospital and payer transparency requirements: To date, CMS has only issued fines for non-compliance to two hospitals in the Atlanta-based Northside Health system. Turquoise said CMS needs to take a "more active stance" in penalizing non-compliant systems. CMS should also publicly recognize compliant hospitals on its website.

2. Standard schema for hospital data: Unlike payer data, which has a government-mandated schema, the hospital data has no specified format, according to the report. This leads to barriers for innovators to create useful data products. The lack of a standard also creates uncertainty in the pricing of services and makes enforcement prohibitively difficult. Turquoise said that once the government issues a standard schema for hospitals, "we will likely see increased compliance enforcement." 

3. State legislation to support the federal laws: Local laws can "play a massive role in fostering rapid statewide compliance," Turquoise said. The company pointed to a Colorado law that went into effect in August that prohibits hospitals from using debt collectors, filing negative credit reports against patients and obtaining state court judgments for outstanding debts if the hospital is not compliant with all federal price transparency laws. 

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