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Kennedy introduces bill to make hospital prices clear to patients

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U.S. Sen. John Kennedy

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Hospital Transparency Compliance Enforcement Act to increase penalties on hospitals that hide the true costs of their items and services from patients.

“Patients need to know the true cost of hospital items and services. This bill would protect patients by clarifying how much a hospital visit might really cost so that they can make informed choices about their care,” 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. As of July 2021, however, less than six percent of hospitals comply with this transparency rule, according to some estimates.

This January, the government implemented higher penalties on hospitals that don’t comply with the transparency rule. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (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 100 days after the end of the public health emergency.

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 the CMS to publish the names of hospitals that have not complied.

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