Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Hospitals Using Computer Coding Tricks to Evade Transparency Rules: WSJ Investigation

A new January 1, 2021 regulation requires hospitals to disclose price information that they have long kept secret as part of a federal effort to increase transparency in health-care pricing. For the first time, the rule should be revealing the prices that insurers negotiate for many hospital services and the substantial differences in those prices. The data will help consumers find better pricing and help doctors and employers select the hospitals where they direct patients for the more cost-effective service. 

“Hospitals are evading the spirit of new price transparency regulations while technically following the letter of the law, a ‘Wall Street Journal’ investigation has found.

Hospitals that have published their previously confidential prices also have blocked that information from web searches with special coding embedded on their websites. The information must be disclosed under a federal rule aimed at making the $1 trillion sector more consumer-friendly. However, hundreds of hospitals embedded code in their websites that prevented Google and other search engines from displaying pages with the price lists, according to an examination of more than 3,100 sites.”

Source: BenefitsPro

By February, a different study illustrated that 65 of the top 100 hospitals hadn’t complied with the regulation. (Modern Healthcare).