Amid growing pressure on lawmakers and providers to help consumers make sense of healthcare prices, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed legislation that will now require the state's hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers to disclose what they're paid for 140 medical procedures and services.
The prices for 100 “common inpatient services,” 20 surgical procedures and 20 imaging procedures will be posted on the state Department of Health and Human Services website. The legislation also limits hospitals' ability to put liens on patients' homes and forbids state-owned hospitals from garnishing patients' wages to recoup debts.
Earlier this year, the CMS published data disclosing what hospitals charge and what Medicare pays them for common inpatient and outpatient procedures. Providers complained that the widely varying charges for the same services were misleading because the numbers rarely reflect what patients and insurers are billed, but the Obama administration said the disclosures were at least a step toward helping consumers make more informed healthcare decisions.