Many hospitals are not doing the bare minimum to meet the needs of patients, address the inequities in healthcare, and even follow federal government rules for their operations!
ACORN International in partnership with Labor Neighbor Research & Training Center, and Local 100 United Labor Unions in recent weeks has filed complaints against 178 hospitals in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas for failing to provide patients with price transparency, per the CMS’ latest guidelines/policy.
These hospitals either have no pricing information available or have it displayed in such a way that it is inaccessible to patients seeking the information. The regulation requires that the information be machine-readable, so it can be compared, but many hospitals have made comparison impossible, contrary to the regulation.
As of the beginning of this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has a policy requiring price transparency in effect Jan. 1, 2021
- “Starting January 1, 2021, each hospital operating in the United States will be required to provide clear, accessible pricing information online about the items and services they provide in two ways: As a comprehensive machine-readable file with all items and services. In a display of shoppable services in a consumer-friendly format.” (source)
- Part of CMS’ actions to “address the health equity gap, ensure consumers have the information they need to make fully informed decisions regarding their health care, improve emergency care access in rural communities, and use lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic to inform patient care and quality measurements.”
Not only is there a crisis in medical costs, as longer-term research is proving, but patients and the general public cannot even access information about their procedures, price shop, or even find out exactly how much it will cost in advance, this means patients cannot “make fully informed and value-conscious decisions”
CMS has threatened to begin fining hospitals for their impunity in not following the regulation and posting their prices transparently. Our survey of hospitals in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas indicates that many of them will soon be facing significant penalties for consumer abuse in not filing.