Compliance of National Cancer Institute–Designated Cancer Centers With January 2021 Price Transparency Requirements

Author(s): Christopher P. Childers, MD, PhD1, Jacob Guorgui, BS2, Sami Siddiqui3, Timothy Donahue, MD1
Source: JAMA Surg. Published online August 10, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2022.3125

Nathan Walcker's Thoughts

While price transparency across sites of care on its face is a step in the right direction, datapoints when viewed discretely are less informative when it comes to the actual costs associated with cancer care. Additional work, analysis and research is much needed across the stakeholder continuum to fully understand the costs associated with the treatment of cancer, and to further achieve the transparency goals set forth by CMS in 2019 with this initiative.

In an effort to increase competition and drive down prices, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) initiated 2 policies in the last 3 years to increase hospital price transparency.1 Starting January 2019, hospitals were required to publish their chargemasters—a list of the nondiscounted prices for services provided. This effort has been criticized because charges rarely reflect the actual prices paid for a service and do little to spur competition.2,3 In response to this criticism, CMS expanded this mandate in January 2021 to require hospitals to publish a list of their negotiated rates with health insurers. In theory, this should more effectively increase competition between payors and hospitals and drive down rates.

Author Affiliations

1Department of Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, 2David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California,3Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology at UCLA, Los Angeles, California

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