Six of eight Michigan hospitals analyzed reported as “noncompliant” with new ACA price transparency rule

PatientRightsAdvocate.org recently released a study which detailed how well eight randomly selected Michigan hospitals complied with a new Affordable Care Act (ACA) hospital price transparency rule. Out of the eight hospitals selected, six were noncompliant and two were fully compliant. Out of the 500 hospitals surveyed, only 28 were in compliance with all the rule requirements. 

 

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The rule requires hospitals to provide machine-readable charges lists for all services, a standard charges list or price estimator tool for the 300 most common shoppable services, and a list of discounted cash prices. 

The study says hospitals are not compliant if they left out one of the five charge criteria required: If negotiated payer rates associated with plans were not posted, if the price estimator tool did not show both negotiated rates and discounted cash prices, and if it posted zeros or blanks in data fields. 

Researchers at PatientRightsAdvocate.org reviewed hospital websites from May 15 to July 8. Firelight Health LLC, a health care data company, held a separate review and validation of the report. 

The Michigan Health and Hospital Association said:

“Michigan hospitals are working to help patients access useful information about their costs. For years, the MHA has been assisting member hospitals and health systems provide patients with upfront information about their costs and healthcare quality, including through cost estimator tools and other services such as our verifymicare.org website. Both the MHA and the American Hospital Association have been active providing information and guidance to our membership on implementing the price transparency rule requirements. Some parts of the rule require significant staff resources that have at times needed to remain directed at the COVID-19 response. We strongly encourage hospitals and health systems to be consistent with federal policies in their release of information.” 

Of the 28 hospitals in compliance with the rule, the two in Michigan are Munsen Medical Center in Traverse City and University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers in Ann Arbor. The six hospitals noncompliant are Ascension Providence Hospital Southfield, Beaumont Hospital-Royal Oak, Beaumont Hospital Troy, Henry Ford Hospital, Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital, and St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor.

Below is a table listing how they were compliant or noncompliant: