Saturday, July 20, 2024

Investigation highlights Kennedy’s work to make hospital prices clear to patients

by BIZ Magazine

MADISONVILLE, La. – A recent investigation has highlighted Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) work to make hospital prices clear to patients before they pursue treatment. InvestigateTV’s analysis found that, despite the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) attempt to make hospital prices clear to the public, many hospitals have not complied with the agency’s Hospital Price Transparency Final Rule.

The rule went into effect in 2021 and requires hospitals to share their pricing information online, yet many hospitals have not provided patients with straightforward access to pricing for routine services. Kennedy has authored a bill, the Hospital Transparency Compliance Enforcement Act, that would incentivize hospitals to share this information by doubling the current penalties for noncompliant hospitals to as much as $11,000 per day.

In the report, Kennedy criticizes CMS for failing to enforce the rule effectively and says the agency has the authority to penalize hospitals that are “playing games” with consumers.

“I’ve gone to these hospital websites. They either don’t post their prices, or it would take Dog the Bounty Hunter to find out where on their website they’ve posted it. You’ve got to click here and click there and click there, and then click there to get there, and then it’s written in a foreign language,” said Kennedy.


The Hospital Price Transparency Rule requires hospitals to establish and make public a list of the prices that hospitals charge for items and services. Hospitals must also display charges in a consumer-friendly manner. A February 2023 study of 2,000 hospitals found that only 489—or 24%—were fully compliant. 

In January 2022, the government implemented higher penalties on hospitals that fail to comply with the transparency rule. CMS requires non-compliant hospitals with 30 or fewer beds to pay a penalty of $300 per day, those with 31 to 550 beds to pay between $310 and $5,500 per day and those with more than 550 beds to pay $5,500 per day.

The Hospital Transparency Compliance Enforcement Act would: 

  • Double the current government penalties on non-compliant hospitals. Penalties would increase to $600 per day for hospitals with 30 or fewer beds, $620 to $11,000 per day for hospitals with 31 to 550 beds and $11,000 per day for hospitals with more than 550 beds.
  • Require all hospitals to comply with the higher penalties within six months of the law’s passage.
  • Prohibit hospitals from shielding information on their websites using webpage coding.
  • Give non-compliant hospitals 60 days after notice of non-compliance to pay their monetary penalty.
  • Require CMS to publish the names of hospitals that have not complied.

Text of the Hospital Transparency Compliance Enforcement Act is available here.

Find the investigation’s report here.

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