- The House Committee on Energy and Commerce is calling on the Government Accountability Office to investigate how well hospitals are complying with price transparency rules that went into effect at the beginning of this year.
- Committee members said in a recent letter that hospitals have had “ample time” to comply with the rules and that they are “troubled by reports that some hospitals disclosing their prices are making it difficult for consumers to access the price information.”
- The committee is asking the government watchdog to check for compliance on key requirements and access concerns, as well as how the CMS is monitoring and enforcing hospital compliance.
Various studies and surveys by patient advocacy groups have shown recent low compliance with the price transparency rule, including among some of the biggest health systems. A recent report, however, found that hospitals may be “moving in the right direction.”
The committee is asking the GAO to look into the requirement that hospitals make public a machine-readable list of standard price ranges for all services, including payer-specific negotiated charges. Hospitals have pushed back on the requirement, saying it’s costly, complex and “has no direct benefit to patients.”
To encourage compliance, the CMS last year increased the maximum penalty for hospitals from about $110,000 to $2 million for larger hospitals. The first fines for noncompliance were released in June to two Georgia hospitals in the same system for a joint penalty of $1.1 million.