By Consumers For Quality Care, on May 5, 2021
According to reporting from The Wall Street Journal, despite federal rules requiring hospitals disclose their previously confidential prices, hospitals are actually blocking that information from web searches.
Hundreds of hospitals have embedded code in their websites to prevent search engines from displaying pages with the price lists. Instead, a consumer may have to click through multiple pages to reach the information, despite the rule saying providers have to display the data prominently.
“They’re taking an active step to make something harder to find,” said Thomas Barker, a healthcare attorney at Foley Hoag and former official at the Department of Health and Human Services. “I would say it violates the spirit of the rule.”
Some of the largest health care systems and hospitals, such as HCA Healthcare and Universal Health Services, were found to be among the providers burying prices.
However, after being contacted by The Wall Street Journal, multiple providers removed the search-blocking code.