Beginning Jan. 1, Connecticut hospitals will have to warn patients who receive outpatient services of facility fees.
The law requires hospitals or health systems that acquire a physician practice to notify all patients within 30 days after the acquisition that their outpatient services will now include facility fees.
The law also requires the bill to clearly state that the fee is used for the hospital's operational expenses, that the patient would likely be charged less at an outpatient care center not owned by a hospital and that the patient has a right to request a reduction in the facility fee.
The provisions are part of a larger bill passed in June aimed at improving price transparency for patients.
It's just the latest such step taken by the state to improve price transparency. A 2014 law requires hospitals that provide outpatients services to “prominently” display a sign indicating it charges facility fees, among other requirements.
Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen also urged legislators to address confusion among patients who were unaware that their outpatient care provider was acquired by a hospital and were suddenly presented with two bills. Jepsen also urged legislation to require hospitals to notify his office of pending acquisitions or mergers so they can be monitored for any antitrust issues. The law was passed in June 2014.