#WheresThePrice aims to keep hospitals honest on transparency

CMS Administrator Seema Verma is asking the public to monitor whether hospitals are complying with the agency's price transparency rule, according to a Kaiser Health News report.

The rule, which took effect Jan. 1, requires hospitals to post their standard charges online in a machine-readable format that can be easily imported into a computer system

While it is unclear how many hospitals are complying with the rule, most appear to be, according to the report, which cites hospital officials and a small sample of websites.

But the federal government has confirmed it is not enforcing the rule right now and is calling on the public to help keep watch on compliance.

In a Feb. 22 tweet, Ms. Verma asked people to visit their local hospital's website and notify her is they can't find pricing information posted in an electronic format. She said they should tweet her with the hashtag #WheresThePrice.

Some tweets of noncompliance linked to the hashtag appear to be because consumers did not fully delve into the hospital website, KHN reports. The publication examined the websites of six cited hospitals and found the price information, but in most instances, the information was not in a prominent place on the site.

CMS also has asked consumers, hospitals and other healthcare stakeholders to offer input on possible enforcement mechanisms and potential future price transparency measures, according to the report.

A CMS spokesperson told KHN the agency expects to issue its next price transparency regulation this year.

 

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