AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange Cites Findings from HCFO-funded Study on Fair Hospital Pricing

Publication Date: 
May 22, 2014

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) recent Health Care Innovations Exchange issue examined policies to move towards affordable care and reduce price variability. One of the policy innovation profiles analyzed California’s Hospital Fair Pricing Act, which was passed by the California Legislature in 2006 and limited hospitals’ bill collection practices and the amount they can collect from low- and moderate-income uninsured and underinsured patients. The profile cited work from HCFO-funded researcher Glenn Melnick, Ph.D., University of Southern California. Melnick and his colleagues examined the impact of the California fair-pricing regulations and government subsidies on the cost of hospital services for the uninsured. They found that five years after passage of the law California hospitals had developed financial assistance policies that offered the uninsured substantial protection from high prices based on billed charges.