Q&A: Including pharmacy and supplies in a list of standard charges

Q: Considering the 2019 IPPS final rule requirement that hospitals post a list of their standard charges online, is it your interpretation that the standard chargemaster includes pharmacy and supplies?

A: Some organizations are thinking about posting only those drugs that have HCPCS codes and, based on a particular point in time, listing a typical price.

Others are just going to aggregate it and say, for example, for a pneumonia case, “Here's the price for an inpatient pneumonia case and for an outpatient pneumonia case. Here's the price for observation services, and here's the range of drugs.” They may have a range or a single drug price. Others feel that they do have to list it by a drug name.

The same is true of supplies. You can aggregate them up in a consumable way, or for certain high-cost things like implants, I do think that many are thinking about listing them individually.

Editor’s note: On December 4, CMS released additional FAQs regarding the 2019 IPPS final rule requirement that hospitals post a list of their standard charges on the internet. According to the FAQs, the requirements apply to drugs and biologicals even if the standard charges for those items are not reflected in the chargemaster.

This question was answered by Valerie Rinkle, MPA, lead regulatory specialist and instructor for HCPro in Middleton, Massachusetts, during the October 30 webinar “Methods to Improve Price Transparency: Hospital Pricing Strategies for Success.”