Senator wants to put more fire under hospitals lacking price transparency compliance

Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy has introduced a bill that would place harsher penalties on hospitals that fail to comply with federal price transparency rules. 

The bill, dubbed the Hospital Transparency Compliance Enforcement Act, would:

  • Double the current penalties on non-compliant hospitals. Penalties would increase to $600 per day for hospitals with 30 or fewer beds, $620 to $11,000 per day for hospitals with 31 to 550 beds and $11,000 per day for hospitals with more than 550 beds.
  • Prohibit hospitals from shielding information on their websites using webpage coding. 
  • Give non-compliant hospitals 60 days after notice of non-compliance to pay their monetary penalty. 
  • Require CMS to publish the names of non-compliant hospitals. 

Federal hospital price transparency rules went into effect in January 2021. To date, only two hospitals — Northside Hospital Atlanta and Northside Hospital Cherokee in Canton, Ga. — have been fined for violating the laws. 

A news release from Mr. Kennedy's office pointed to a Feb. 6 report from that found that 489 of the 2,000 hospitals it reviewed (24 percent) were fully compliant. 

Groups such as the American Hospital Association have pushed back against price transparency compliance reports from groups other than CMS. The AHA has argued that these groups are ignoring CMS' guidance on aspects of the rule, such as how to fill in an individual negotiated rate when such a rate does not exist due to patient services being bundled and billed together. 

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