Published: Thu, April 26, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Hospitals May Soon Have to Post Prices Online

Hospitals May Soon Have to Post Prices Online

The changes are found in the proposed annual inpatient hospital rule, which the agency released Tuesday (April 24).

Under Promoting Interoperability, updates to EHR and related technology includes the use of application programming interfaces, or APIs for patients to collect their health information from multiple providers, and to potentially incorporate all of their data into a single portal, application, program, or other software. The rule applies to about 3,300 acute care hospitals and 420 long-term care hospitals, and would take effect October 1.

In addition, CMS also plans to increase uncompensated Medicare payments to providers from 2018 totals.

"Our goal is to provide a brand new structure that allows for eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals to attest to objectives and measures that are most applicable to their particular setting", Verma emphasized.

The administration is also seeking comments on how to stop "surprise billing" or when patients receive charges after unknowingly being seen by out-of-network providers.

It could become easier to shop around for health care for your family.

But hospitals aren't quite as excited about two other plot twists in the proposed rule.

"We are removing measures that are topped-out - meaning the overwhelming majority of providers are performing well on them - duplicative measures, and measures that are excessively burdensome to report", stated Verma.

"We seek to ensure the healthcare system puts patients first", CMS administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. "We have long advocated for interoperability in our healthcare systems and commend CMS for making interoperability a focus".

AHA also supports CMS's more streamlined approach to quality measurement by eliminating a significant number of criteria acute care hospitals are now required to report and it removes duplicative measures across the five hospital quality and value-based purchasing programs.

"Today's proposed rule demonstrates our commitment to patient access to high quality care while removing outdated and redundant regulations on providers", she continued.

Specifically, CMS would directly contract with physician group practices, and they in turn would agree to be accountable for the costs and quality of care of a specific beneficiary population.

AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels applauded the federal agency's efforts to further the aims of the Patients Over Paperwork initiative.

This is the Trump administration's latest effort to encourage patients to make more informed decisions in their own care. We envision a system that rewards value over volume and where patients reap the benefits through more choices and better health outcomes.

IPPS payments would increase drastically more than LTCH payments, according to CMS.

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