50% of hospitals comply with price transparency for spine MRIs


As of September/October 2021, half of hospitals that offered lumbar spine MRIs were compliant with a CMS mandate to publish their prices online, researchers with the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute found.

Four things to know:

1. The study, published in Journal of the American College of Radiology, used website data from 523 hospitals offering lumbar spine MRIs. The CMS mandate applies to 300 common "shoppable" services, and the price transparency rule went into effect in January 2021.

2. Hospitals with high Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare providers and Systems ratings were 70 percent more likely to be compliant with the price transparency mandate compared with those with a lower rating. 

3. "Our results suggest that hospitals that are focused on the patient experience are more likely to comply with price transparency, a patient-centered initiative," the study's first author, Richard Lin, said in a Feb. 18 news release.

4. CMS increased the penalty for noncompliance with the price transparency mandate from $300 to $5,500 per day. The study's senior author, Gelareh Sadigh, MD, said in the release that further studies will be needed to assess if the higher penalty will lead to higher compliance.

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