Ohio hospitals ask to halt price transparency law

Posted at 11:21 PM, Dec 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-30 23:21:34-05


An Ohio law having to do with hospital price disclosures that was set to go into effect on Jan. 1 has been halted due to a lawsuit filed by a group of state healthcare organizations. 

The Ohio Healthcare Price Transparency measure was voted into law in 2015. It requires that a licensed medical professional provide a written estimate for costs associated with products, services or procedures before they’re performed. The mandate applies to any “non-emergency” services. 

But in a recent lawsuit, several groups including the Ohio Hospital Association and the Ohio State Medical Association asked to halt the law. 

“It’s very unrealistic,” OSMA President Dr. Brian Bachelder told News 5. “It’s in an ideal world that just doesn’t exist.”

In a 25-page filing, the eight plaintiff groups argued that the law was too vague and violated the single-subject and thee-reading rules of the Ohio Constitution. The parties also argued that the requirements could lead to a delay in patient care.

“Who knows how long it will take to get the information,” Dr. Bachelder said. “It may actually delay you from getting in to see the doctor.” 

“This is a significant development for hospitals and health care providers across the state” said Mike Abrams, president and CEO, Ohio Hospitals Association, in a statement emailed to News 5. “This flawed law invites confusion for all stakeholders and would result in provider non-compliance and delays in patient care. We are pleased with this outcome and are hopeful that stakeholders can come together in the next thirty days to continue a dialogue regarding meaningful price transparency policy." 

But Rep. Jim Butler (R-41), who championed the bill, told News 5 that he and others have vigorously disputed the facts stated in the lawsuit. 

 “I’ve offered to clarify whatever the concern is in a future,” Butler told News 5. “The things that they bring up in their lawsuit are nothing but manufactured excuses and if they were truly sincere about wanting transparency they would have been solved a year ago.” 

Butler said it is imperative that Ohio patients know what they’re paying for before services are administered. 

He’s said he’s willing to change the law to make it clearer and easier to implement but will not agree to limit the law’s scope. 

A hearing on the law is scheduled for January 20.