by: Francis Linn, Ozarks First

It’s a new year, and hospitals now have a new rule regarding prices starting today.

It’s the hospital price transparency rule.

The rule requires all providers to publicize pricing for all hospital services.

“We always want to have things as transparent as possible for patients, so in the end it’s a service we’re really glad to be able to offer patients,” said Kaitlyn McConnell, media relations coordinator at CoxHealth, “so for Cox health, we actually went ahead and got everything up last week, so people can go ahead and look at coxhealth.com, and find out what different costs are for various services.”

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is the organization behind this.

The goal is to empower patients.

For CoxHealth, pricing is only available for hospital services, not primary physicians.

“It does not involve right now, you going to your primary care physician, you could theoretically, especially for us, call your doctor and have them explain the pricing structure,” explained McConnell, “but under this new regulation, that’s not tied into pricing info that should be posted online.”

Mcconnell explained how to utilize this service.

“If you go on the website and search pricing, the list will come up, it’s hospital by hospital since we have several different ones in different cities,” McConnell said.

She emphasized that the numbers on the website are just an estimate.

“Because you also have other things that go into the total cost of the visit, but you also have things like insurance that have not been factored into this price, so it’s really just a very, ballpark number of what something could be but it really, in most cases won’t end up being that exact price,” said McConnell.

She said this is a positive step forward for patients to get easy access to pricing information.

“The more information we can give patients I think is better, and so I know that in the world we live in, the more transparent the easier we can make things for people to understand, that’s always better,” McConnell said.