Just 36% of Hospitals Are Complying With Price Transparency Rule: Report
Health Care

Just 36% of Hospitals Are Complying With Price Transparency Rule: Report

iStockphoto/The Fiscal Times

A federal law that took effect at the start of 2021 requires hospitals to meet new standards for price transparency. Two and a half years later, only 36% of hospitals are complying with the rule, according to a semi-annual report by the nonprofit Patient Right Advocate.

The group analyzed the websites of 2,000 U.S. hospitals from May 9 through July 14 and found that just 721 of them are in full compliance with the rule. While most hospitals have posted the pricing files required by law, “the widescale noncompliance of 64% of hospitals is due to most hospitals’ files being incomplete or not having prices clearly associated with both payer and plan,” the report says. A far smaller number of hospitals — just 69 of those reviewed, or 3.5% — had no usable files posted on their pricing.

The latest review also represents some progress compared to February, when the compliance rate was a reported 25%. “Interestingly, 256 of the hospitals we found to be noncompliant in our February 2023 report are now compliant; however, 40 of the hospitals deemed compliant in the February 2023 report were found to be noncompliant in this report,” the latest document says.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is responsible for enforcement of the rule and it imposed its first penalties for noncompliance in June 2022. The report notes that both penalized hospitals immediately came into compliance. “Yet, in April of 2023, only two more hospitals were fined,” the report says. “Both were still found to be noncompliant in this review. As of the time of this report, a total of four hospitals have been penalized, 0.2% of the hospitals that CMS recognized as noncompliant. Clearly, CMS is not strongly enforcing the rule.”