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Imaging Prices Difficult to Find in Hospital Pricing Data

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A new transparency review in JAMA Network Open incorporating thousands of U.S. hospitals found imaging prices most difficult to track down for the average consumer compared to other shoppable healthcare services, writes HealthImaging.

The impact of the 2019 CMS-1694-F rule 18 months later has revealed some discouraging results. More than half of the 5,288 U.S. hospitals with a website did not have an online chargemaster in a machine-readable format, as mandated by CMS. And out of the 100 largest organizations, pricing for imaging services such as brain MRI, screening mammography and head CT without contrast, among others, proved exceedingly hard to find.

The cross-sectional study of hospital chargemasters between June 30 and November 20, 2020 revealed out of the 5,000-plus healthcare organizations, 51.5% did not make an adequate online chargemaster available. This included 5.8% with broken links or files and 2.6% only offering an online cost estimator.

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