East Texas hospitals discuss new price transparency requirement

Hospitals support transparency, but find listings to be difficult for patients to understand
File: CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler
File: CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler(KLTV)
Updated: Jan. 7, 2019 at 6:09 PM CST
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East Texas News at 6.

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A new hospital price transparency rule went into effect at the first of the year. but just how helpful is the new requirement?

For the most part, East Texas hospitals we talked to say while they support transparency, this is a complex issue that might not be easy for patients to understand. So here’s the deal. The prices you can now find on a hospital’s website is the list prices. This is like a suggested retail price for a car manufacturers. The problem is that the list price is rarely the price you’ll end up paying.

UT Health East Texas sent us the following statement in response to the new requirements:

While we support greater transparency around hospital pricing, billing for medical services is a complex issue and the information hospitals are required to post provides only a snapshot of a much larger picture. We urge patients to use the information posted on our website and other hospital websites as a starting point for determining their financial responsibility. It’s important to know the prices listed represent the hospital’s gross charges for a service and do not include discounts negotiated by insurance companies or those provided to qualifying self-pay patients. Therefore, in most cases, the patient’s financial responsibility for these services is much lower than the posted price.

On it’s website, UT Health adds that hospital charges don’t include fees from specific providers like surgeons or radiologists. Those services are billed separately.

Click here to find the price listings for UT Health East Texas

Statement from CHRISTUS Health in response to price transparency rule:

The Mission of CHRISTUS Health is to extend its healing ministry to every patient, which means providing care that is accessible to all. We have always strongly believed that assisting our patients in making informed choices is best for everyone because it enhances public accessibility and encourages greater transparency. In fact, CHRISTUS Health was one of the first non-profit health systems to publish financial performance indicators on their Website. It is our goal every day to offer affordable costs and the highest quality of care in our communities. That is why we regularly examine ways to make care more affordable and more accessible. To comply with the new CMS requirement, CHRISTUS ministries published our charge codes and average prices online – but that does not represent the totality of our efforts around price transparency or affordability. If community members have questions about the cost of care, we encourage them to have one-on-one conversations with our teams to answer any questions about costs for their medical needs. Unfortunately, knowing you need a knee replacement (for example) does not give a patient enough information to look at a list of charges and know what charges would potentially be billed, what the physician preferences might be, what complications may be likely due to a patient’s personal health status, what the patient’s insurance would cover and what a patient’s out-of-pocket costs might be. Because of this and in an effort to continue to help our patients and family members understand CHRISTUS price information, we encourage our patients to contact the Patient Financial Services team at CHRISTUS Good Shepherd at 903.315.5200 and the Financial Counselors at 903.606.4700 at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances to get a fuller look at the estimated out of pocket costs based on their insurance or pricing for uninsured.

Click here to find the price listings for CHRISTUS Health

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