April 16, 2021

Around the nation: CMS says health care prices can't be hidden from web searches

Daily Briefing

    CMS in guidance issued for insurers last month in an online technical forum on GitHub said health care prices insurers are required to post under a new price transparency rule cannot be hidden from web searches, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Indiana, Maryland, and Montana.

    • Indiana: The Women's Hospital has named C. Brennan Fitzpatrick as its first CMO. Fitzpatrick has served as medical director of perinatal medicine and ultrasound at The Women's Hospital since 2008 and will continue in the role as he assumes his duties as CMO, as well as in maternal fetal medicine patient care, but on a reduced basis (Gooch, Becker's Hospital Review, 4/13).
    • Maryland: CMS in guidance issued for insurers last month in an online technical forum on GitHub said health care prices insurers are required to post under a new price transparency rule cannot be hidden from web searches. The guidance comes after a Wall Street Journal report found that hundreds of websites used special coding to prevent prices from showing up on Google. In a statement, a CMS spokesperson said the new guidelines "[help] clarify the intent of this regulation—make the files public and accessible," and that CMS "intends to provide more guidance on this in the future." According to the Wall Street Journal, the statement didn't directly address whether CMS intends to issue similar guidance for hospitals, but it noted that hospitals are required to post data that's "easily accessible and void of barriers" and their digital files should "be digitally searchable" (Fernandez, Axios, 4/15; Mathews/McGinty, Wall Street Journal, 4/14).
    • Montana: Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) on Tuesday issued an executive order banning the use or development of vaccine passports in Montana. Gianforte said he encourages all Montana residents to get a Covid-19 vaccine, but added that doing so is "entirely voluntary" (Associated Press, 4/13).

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