In an effort to increase price transparency, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began reporting charges for Medicare inpatients treated in ∼3400 hospitals online in 2013. As of 2019, CMS began to require hospitals themselves to publicize a more comprehensive list of their underlying procedure charges.
The objective of this study was to assess the responses of hospitals to broad-scale public reporting of their charges for inpatient services.
We used descriptive analysis to examine the trend in CMS charge data for high charge hospitals before and after the 2013 intervention. We also applied difference-in-differences analysis to comprehensive inpatient charge data from New York and Florida for the years 2011–2016, defining the reported high-volume diagnosis-related groups (DRGs) as the intervention group.
At the national level, the CMS charge data showed relatively lower growth in high charge hospitals following the intervention. From the state data, we found that after 3 years, the growth in charges for reported DRGs in New York hospitals was 4%–9% lower than for unreported diagnosis-related groups. In Florida, it was 2%–8% lower.
Public reports of hospital inpatient charges by DRG appear to influence subsequent charges, slowing their growth.