Large Variations in the Prices of Urologic Procedures at Academic Medical Centers 1 Year after Implementation of the Price Transparency Final Rule

Zeynep G. Gul, Danielle R. Sharbaugh, Cailey J. Guercio, Daniel L. Pelzman, Cameron A. Jones, Emily C. Hacker, Vivian I. Anyaeche, Levi Bowers, Ashti M. Shah, Michael G. Stencel, Jonathan G. Yabes, Bruce L. Jacobs, Benjamin J. Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Importance: Patients with urologic diseases often experience financial toxicity, defined as high levels of financial burden and concern, after receiving care. The Price Transparency Final Rule, which requires hospitals to disclose both the commercial and cash prices for at least 300 services, was implemented to facilitate price shopping, decrease price dispersion, and lower health care costs. Objective: To evaluate compliance with the Price Transparency Final Rule and to quantify variations in the price of urologic procedures among academic hospitals and by insurance class. Design, Setting, and Participants: This was a cross-sectional study that determined the prices of 5 common urologic procedures among academic medical centers and by insurance class. Prices were obtained from the Turquoise Health Database on March 24, 2022. Academic hospitals were identified from the Association of American Medical Colleges website. The 5 most common urologic procedures were cystourethroscopy, prostate biopsy, laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, transurethral resection of the prostate, and ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy. Using the corresponding Current Procedural Terminology codes, the Turquoise Health Database was queried to identify the cash price, Medicare price, Medicaid price, and commercial insurance price for these procedures. Exposures: The Price Transparency Final Rule, which went into effect January 1, 2021. Main Outcomes and Measures: Variability in procedure price among academic medical centers and by insurance class (Medicare, Medicaid, commercial, and cash price). Results: Of 153 hospitals, only 20 (13%) listed a commercial price for all 5 procedures. The commercial price was reported most often for cystourethroscopy (86 hospitals [56%]) and least often for laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (45 hospitals [29%]). The cash price was lower than the Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial price at 24 hospitals (16%). Prices varied substantially across hospitals for all 5 procedures. There were significant variations in the prices of cystoscopy (χ23= 85.9; P =.001), prostate biopsy (χ23= 64.6; P =.001), prostatectomy (χ23= 24.4; P =.001), transurethral resection of the prostate (χ23= 51.3; P =.001), and ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy (χ23= 63.0; P =.001) by insurance type. Conclusions and Relevance: These findings suggest that, more than 1 year after the implementation of the Price Transparency Final Rule, there are still large variations in the prices of urologic procedures among academic hospitals and by insurance class. Currently, in certain situations, health care costs could be reduced if patients paid out of pocket. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services may improve price transparency by better enforcing penalties for noncompliance, increasing penalties, and ensuring that hospitals report prices in a way that is easy for patients to access and understand..

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E2249581
JournalJAMA Network Open
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 5 2023

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