A new Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute study found that as of September/October 2021, only 50% of hospitals that offered lumbar spine MRI were compliant with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) mandate to publish their prices online. The mandate became effective in January 2021 (AHT 1/4/21). This study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology used website data from 523 hospitals offering lumbar spine MRI to assess compliance with the price transparency mandate. This mandate applies to 300 common or “shoppable” services. Given that low back pain is estimated to affect up to 85% of people during their lifetime, lumbar spine MRI is one of these shoppable services.
Hospitals were compared using star ratings from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare providers and Systems (HCAHPS) 2019 survey and Google reviews. The study found that hospitals with high HCAHPS patient-recommendation star ratings (4-5 stars) were 70% more likely to be compliant with the price transparency mandate than hospitals with low patient star ratings (<4 stars).