By: Sally C. Pipes

More than a year after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services enacted a rule requiring hospitals to disclose prices for routine procedures, most still aren’t complying. That’s according to a recent study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.2 As of December 2021, CMS had issued 335 warnings to hospitals for failing to follow the rule. Not one has been fined yet. It’s time for hospitals to comply with the rule — or pay a steep price. Hospitals have long used opaque pricing schemes as an excuse to charge wildly different rates to different patients for the same service. In 2020, a study by the research firm Crowe found that the cost difference between the highest and lowest prices for common procedures varied an average of nearly 300%. For example, suppose you’re an expectant mother in the second or third trimester living in Baltimore. You need a routine ultrasound — and can schedule it at either Good Samaritan Hospital or Franklin Square Medical Center. The two hospitals are about eight miles away from one another and are both operated by MedStar Health.

See more in this weeks Boone County Journal

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