Through the online price transparency tool, users can view hospital service prices and assess machine-readable file completeness.
A healthcare technology company has launched an online price transparency tool that allows consumers to compare hospital costs before seeking care.
Turquoise Health’s Price Transparency Scorecard lets consumers find prices by searching for specific services or providers. The tool also presents a scorecard that states whether the hospital’s machine-readable file complies with the hospital price transparency rule requirements.
The CMS hospital price transparency rule requires health systems to publicly post the costs of 300 shoppable services online. Hospitals must also publish a comprehensive machine-readable file that displays all items and services.
“We recognized a need for an accessible source of truth on hospitals’ price transparency efforts,” Chris Severn, co-founder and chief executive officer of Turquoise Health, said in the press release. “Through our Transparency Scorecard, we aim to highlight and celebrate highly transparent providers while identifying areas for improvement for others. In doing so, we can build momentum towards more accurate and complete data for patients.”
The online tool presents the average cash price for listed services and allows users to search and view the service prices at nearly 6,000 hospitals. Patients can also use the scorecard to help decide where to receive care.
The scorecard provides a general score for each hospital based on a five-star rating. The tool uses more than 60 attributes to assess machine-readable file completeness, including the number of usable charge records, number of distinct HCPCS and CPT codes, percent of records with cash rates, and percent of records with negotiated rates.
The scorecard also includes inpatient, outpatient, and drug rates assessments, stating whether or not the hospital has posted machine-readable files for these services.
Hospitals and patients can view a hospital’s machine-readable files in real-time with the new tool, the company said.
Patients can use the tool to help decide which hospital prices will work best for them financially. Hospitals can use the scorecards to assess their own compliance and compare their machine-readable file attributes with similar facilities.
Users can view and download PDFs of hospital scorecards for free, the press release noted.
The company has launched the tool as a beta version. Users can now access and use the price transparency resource, but the official launch is planned for Spring 2022.
The price transparency tool could potentially increase hospital compliance with the CMS rule and help consumers access affordable healthcare services.
Health systems have been lagging when it comes to price transparency compliance.
Only 14 percent of hospitals were complying with the rule between December 2021 and January 2022, a report from PatientsRightsAdvocate.org found.
Data from Manatt Health revealed that hospitals have struggled with the machine-readable file aspect of the rule. As of July 2021, only 12 percent of hospitals had fully implemented the machine-readable file requirement, with 69 percent partially implementing the file and 19 percent not implementing it at all.
Hospitals risk facing financial penalties if their websites do not comply with the price transparency requirements. Under the CY 2022 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS), CMS stated that hospitals with 30 beds or fewer would receive a penalty of $300 per day, while larger hospitals would receive a penalty of $10 per bed per day, with a maximum daily fine of $5,500.