Mar 6, 2024 - News

Report: Hospital price transparency problems persist

Illustration of a very long hospital bill pierced by fountain pens.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Just 17 of 43 Iowa hospitals listed in a new report by Patient Rights Advocate are fully complying with a federal price transparency rule.

  • Metro hospitals that were reviewed are among the fully compliant.

Why it matters: Price disclosures allow for comparisons and the potential for people to save money.

Catch up quick: The federal Hospital Price Transparency Rule took effect in 2021, requiring hospitals to publish prices online in an easily accessible and searchable format for hundreds of common services.

By the numbers: Nationally, about 35% of the 2,000 hospitals reviewed were compliant, down slightly compared to July 2023, per the report.

  • Iowa's 40% compliance rate is up from 16% during that same period.

The fine print: Patient Rights Advocate's review covers roughly a third of the nation's licensed hospitals.

  • The group places emphasis on facilities owned by large health systems and urges federal regulators to conduct full audits.

Friction point: Congress has expressed bipartisan concern over compliance.

  • Groups such as the American Hospital Association have argued that compliance is higher than some reports suggest, Axios' Caitlin Owens reports.
  • Patient Rights Advocate urged President Biden in a letter last week to support legislation to expand and make transparency requirements clearer.

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