SPRINGFIELD, MO (KY3) – Federal law requires hospitals to tell you how much a service will cost before you get it.
The Hospital Price Transparency Law came into force in January 2021. But more than a year later, some institutions did not fully comply with it, including those in Missouri.
“Patients were forced to pay by carte blanche, and at the same time they were sometimes overwhelmed by incredibly outrageous bills that were beyond their expectations,” said Cynthia Fisher, founder of patientrightsadvocate.org.
The data collected by the group shows that Americans pay twice as much for medical services than in any other developed country.
“The reality is that hospitals, insurance companies, large pharmaceutical companies that operate pharmacies, all these middle players are cashing in on patient misfortune. Greed is out of control. It’s our money that pays for both healthcare and insurance coverage, so keeping the consumer in the dark just doesn’t fit the bill,” Fisher said. “What led me to found patientrightsadvocate.org was that too many people I knew who had good jobs, jobs and healthcare were devastated by huge medical debt that led them into bankruptcy.”
Only 16% of hospitals in the country comply with the law, according to a six-month study of hospitals in the US by human rights groups. In Missouri, that number is declining.
Fisher said: “This is one of the lower ranked states for those who are compliant. We looked at 39 hospitals and only 3 met the requirements.”
Mercy Hospitals has been identified as not fully compliant, although they have a cost estimation tool on their website. When asked about the Patients’ Rights Advocate report, we were given the following statement, which reads:
“Mercy is working hard to comply with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) price transparency rule. This year, Mercy Hospital Springfield was not fined and received no non-compliance notices from CMS.”
“We all know how to shop. We all know how to save our own money. This is why healthcare price transparency is truly transformative, as it empowers patients to control their financial spending and health decisions,” Fisher said.
In June, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services fined two hospitals for non-compliance totaling more than a million dollars. The agency says it will continue to investigate hospitals to make sure consumers have pricing information.
According to the Cox report, the hospitals complied.
You can find a full copy of this report here.
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