UNITED STATES - Since the first day of this year a new federal rule requires all hospitals to post their prices for all procedures and services online.
We checked with local hospitals in Yakima and the Tri-Cities to see if they are in compliance with this new rule and it turns that only Virginia Mason Memorial, Trios Health and Lourdes Health are following it.
One thing to note is that when looking for the chargemaster list that has all the prices is that it's not the easiest thing to find.
The list is not exactly on the front page of the website and there isn't a drop down menu titled chargemaster.
All three hospitals mentioned have it under their Patients and Visitors tab.
Before going any further let's establish what the goal of this rule is.
"For the consumer, how can we make this absolutely transparent and I think the intent was for transparency and I'm not sure they are going to achieve that," said Tim Reed, Chief Financial Officer for Virginia Mason Memorial.
The reason Reed says transparency might not be achieved is because the prices listed may not resemble what the patient might end up paying.
"So as a consumer you have to know, well what health insurance do I have? What plan do I have, under that health insurance? Do I have a 20% coinsurance? Do I have an out of pocket maximum? You know, so all those variables come into play so it's not as simple as here is the price," said Reed.
Kadlec and Astria have yet to post their chargemaster list. Both hospitals says they will soon have it up, but this raises a question. What are the penalties for not following this new rule?
"The new rule does not stipulate, there is no mention of, okay, here's the punishment if you don't supply that," said Reed.
The Washington State Hospital Association says that Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services who implemented the rule are working on further regulating it.