BACKGROUND: The Hospital Price Transparency Final Rule, effective January 1, 2021, requires hospitals to post online a machine-readable file that includes payer-specific negotiated commercial prices for all services. The regulation aims to improve the affordability of hospital care by promoting price competition. However, a low compliance level among hospitals would compromise the operational effectiveness of this regulation. Understanding hospitals’ compliance status to the regulation has important implications for its enforcement effort and effectiveness assessment. OBJECTIVE: To analyze nationwide hospitals’ compliance status to the Hospital Price Transparency Rule. DESIGN: Cross-sectional observational study. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 3558 Medicare-certified general acute-care hospitals were examined. MAIN MEASURES: A binary compliance rating was generated by using data collected by Turquoise Health. “Noncompliance” means that no machine-readable file was posted or the posted file contains no commercial negotiated prices. “Compliance” means that a machine-readable file was posted with commercial negotiated prices for at least one insurance plan. KEY RESULTS: As of June 1, 2021, 55% of the 3558 Medicare-certified general acute-care hospitals we examined had not posted a machine-readable file containing commercial negotiated prices. Wide variations of compliance existed across states and hospital referral regions. A hospital’s compliance status is strongly associated with the average compliance status of peer hospitals in the same market. Hospitals with greater IT preparedness, for-profit hospitals, system-affiliated hospitals, large hospitals, and non-urban hospitals had greater compliance. More concentrated hospital markets had greater average compliance. CONCLUSIONS: Hospitals take into consideration the behavior of their peers in the same market when making price disclosure decisions. Compliant hospitals are likely to have better IT preparedness, more financial resources and personnel expertise to mitigate the cost required for the implementation of the Price Transparency Rule. The compliance cost, therefore, might be a barrier for some hospitals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine