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House panel OKs health care transparency bill

A bill promising greater transparency for hospital pricing is moving through the state House.

The House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee on Monday voted to approve a measure (HB 1175), sponsored by Rep. Chris Sprowls. Among other things, the proposal calls on facilities to post average payments and payment ranges for bundled health care services online. That information must be searchable.

It also calls for facilities to provide an estimate of charges within three days of a request. Failure to provide an estimate leads to a daily fine of $1,000. It also calls on facilities to provide an itemized bill within seven days of a patient being discharged.

Transparency has been a topic of discussion this Legislative Session. In May, Gov. Rick Scott created the Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding. The commission was tasked with looking at ways government spending on health care can be more efficient.

For months, the board heard from Floridians who reported price gouging. Scott has said his proposal would attempt to put a stop to that.

The House decision came just as a committee backing Scott released an advertisement touting the need for legislation to reform the health-care system.

The 15-second digital spot, paid for by Let’s Get to Work, was expected to begin airing Monday or Tuesday.

Sprowl’s bill now heads to the House Health and Human Services Committee.

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