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Ohio hospital groups push to overturn price disclosure law

Ohio hospital groups push to overturn price disclosure law

Opponents say that if the law takes effect, patients could end up waiting hours or days for price estimates before getting services such as X-rays.

Healthcare groups in Ohio have filed a lawsuit against the state to block a new law that would make it mandatory for patients to be given price disclosures before they undergo non-emergency treatment.

Opponents of the law, including the Ohio Hospital Association and the Ohio State Medical Association, say that if the law takes effect, patients could end up waiting hours or days for price estimates before receiving even the most basic of tests and procedures, including X-rays or injections.

Before those services are performed, a provider would be required to give patients written estimates on how much their insurer would be billed for each service, how much the insurers would pay, and an estimate of the patients’ out-of-pocket costs. This requirement was included in the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation budget bill in June 2015.

The law’s opponents say this violates the Ohio Constitution, which mandates that bills deal with only one topic, and get three readings before adoption.

Last week, Williams County Common Pleas Court Judge J.T. Stelzer issued a 30-day restraining order which essentially blocks the law from taking effect on Jan. 1. A hearing on the law is scheduled for Jan. 20.

“Ohio physicians are unequivocally in favor of the idea of providing clear, good faith estimates for necessary medical services,” said OSMA president Brian Bachelder, MD, in a statement. “But this new price transparency law falls well short of achieving that stated goal and may actually diminish a patient’s opportunity to secure high-quality, value-based medical care. By delaying the implementation of this law, we hope that the door is reopened for lawmakers, healthcare associations and other interested parties to work together to improve the language of this statute and assure the best interest of patients is addressed.”

Mike Abrams, president and CEO of OHA, said the law is flawed and “invites confusion for all stakeholders.”

The lawsuit notes that the Ohio Medicaid director is mandated by the law to write the rules to implement the statute, but that he doesn’t have any legal authority over private insurance plans.

Other groups opposing the law are the Ohio Psychological Association, Ohio Physical Therapy Association and Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatric.

Originally posted on healthcarefinancenews.com

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