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Consumers' Exposure to Price Transparency: Compliance Testing and Sentiment Analysis of US Hospitals During 2019

Transforming Health Care

ISBN: 978-1-83982-957-4, eISBN: 978-1-83982-956-7

Publication date: 26 October 2020


Since Jan. 1, 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) rule requiring hospitals publish their “standard charges” (also called “charge description masters” or “chargemasters”) in a public, machine-readable format has been in effect. The research at hand assesses hospital compliance with the federal regulation. In addition, a sentiment analysis of the chargemaster webpages compared to hospital homepages is performed to assess the consumer friendliness of the content in terms of language usage. A stratified sample of 212 hospitals was used to conduct observations. Strata were based on patient satisfaction scores drawn from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of health care Providers and Systems survey, and controls for hospital bed size and geographic US census region were utilized from the American Hospital Association Annual Survey. Descriptive statistics are presented, and chi-square testing is used to test for statistically significant differences. Key results are presented for compliance and sentiment. Most hospitals' websites are not presenting chargemaster data in a way that is readily collectable or comparable to other facilities. In addition, the tone of language used on chargemaster transparency webpages is generally more negative than that of hospitals' homepages. In particular, the messaging on transparency pages routinely suggests consumers to not use the data for decision-making purposes.



Patel, K.N., Rucks, A.C. and Ford, E.W. (2020), "Consumers' Exposure to Price Transparency: Compliance Testing and Sentiment Analysis of US Hospitals During 2019", Hefner, J.L., Al-Amin, M., Huerta, T.R., Aldrich, A.M. and Griesenbrock, T.E. (Ed.) Transforming Health Care (Advances in Health Care Management, Vol. 19), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 99-114.



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