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Four things to know about NYC's new healthcare accountability office

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | June 12, 2023
Business Affairs
New York City is establishing the first city healthcare accountability office in the U.S.
In accordance with the newly passed Healthcare Accountability and Consumer Protection Act, New York City will become home to the first metropolitan “healthcare accountability office” in the country, providing residents with specific prices that individual hospitals charge for the same procedures to compare and select the most affordable care options.

Sponsored by council member Julie Menin, the bill was passed into law on June 7, with 42 cosponsors out of 51 members. Here are four things you need to know about it:

It will disclose prices online
The Office of Healthcare Accountability will track and publish the costs of procedures at different hospitals and prices paid by the city for municipal employee healthcare on a website in a publicly accessible format.

It also will disclose each provider’s level of transparency, community benefits, and financial information, including nonprofit property tax exemption obligations and charity care spending.

Will be a national model
Costs for the same procedure vary among similar hospitals. The office will be a national model for price transparency and information accountability, and publish annual reports that assess healthcare spending and include recommendations for lowering costs.

“We have seen the positive impact of price transparency measures in other states, and it is time for New York City to curb excessive healthcare prices,” said Menin in a statement.

Will audit city expenditures
In January 2021, the Hospital Price Transparency Act, under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, mandated healthcare systems disclose prices for certain services. But reports show that few hospitals comply with the rule. The office will audit city expenditures on healthcare costs for city employees, retirees, and dependents to calibrate pricing.

Calls for an independent commission
Menin has also introduced a resolution calling for the New York State legislature and Governor Kathy Hochul to pass legislation to form an independent commission to oversee hospital pricing and increase access to care.

Menin's office did not respond in time for publication.

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