Hune ‘chargemaster’ bill passes Senate committee

For Immediate Release
Oct. 22, 2014

Contact: Troy Tuggle

LANSING, Mich.—Sen. Joe Hune announced Wednesday that a measure to expose the true cost of medicine to consumers passed the Senate Health Policy Committee.

Senate Bill 627, sponsored by Hune, R-Hamburg, would require a hospital that used a charge description master (CDM), sometimes known as a chargemaster, to make it available on the hospital's website or at the hospital location, as applicable.

“I am happy to see my legislation pass out of the Senate Health Policy Committee. However, I am even happier for the consumers of Michigan. We are on our way to improving transparency in medical billing practices and saving Michiganders money.”

Many times in medical facilities around the state medical bills are as much as tripled for some items used. According to one hospital’s report, it spent $27.5 million for laboratory work during calendar year 2010, yet it charged $293.2 million for that same work. Hospitals are charging patients with bills that bear little to no relation to the actual cost of the health care.

The CDM is a price list for products and care that a hospital keeps. The CDM is currently not available for patients’ review, leaving the true price of medicine ambiguous to patients.

The measure would require a hospital that used a CDM to make it available by posting an electronic copy on the hospital’s website. If the hospital has no website, it would have to make a written or electronic copy available at the hospital location.

SB 627 now moves to the full Senate for further consideration.