Apr 15, 2021 - Health

CMS says hospitals cannot use code to hide treatment costs from web

Illustration of a band-aid with binary code

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has told hospitals they can't hide their prices from web searches, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: New federal rules require hospitals to post their pricing information online, but some large systems were using code that prevented that information from appearing in search results.

Details: HCA Healthcare, Universal Health Services and NYU Langone Medical Center allegedly obscured their price information this way, per the Journal.

  • Pricing information was still on their websites, but users would have to click through several pages to find it, rather than being able to search.

Prohibiting that code "helps clarify the intent of this regulation — make the files public and accessible," a CMS spokesperson told the WSJ.

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