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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requires each hospital to post a list of their standard charges—a Charge Description Master (CDM)—on the internet in machine readable format and update that data at least annually. CMS intended that this information would help patients with improved information regarding price transparency.

In our opinion, the CDM itself does not provide the appropriate price transparency for the patient as a patient’s out-of-pocket cost is not determined by the standard charges of a hospital.  The out-of-pocket cost is driven primarily by:

  1. The contracted rate that the patient’s insurance carrier will pay the hospital which is generally much less than the standard charges; and
  2. Any copay, deductible, or coinsurance required by the patient’s benefit plan.   

If you have questions regarding your cost for a specific service, you should contact our Information Center Representatives at 717-544-4953 (option#6) or 800-647-4419 (option#6) who can review your information to give you an estimate and can connect you with a financial counselor if you need financial assistance. 

If you still wish to review the CDM, please understand the following:

  1. The descriptions in the CDM may not be understandable to the layperson.
  2. The total charge amount for many procedures is made up of many individual charge items from the CDM.
  3. Charges related to inpatient room charges or observation status may be appropriate for a particular encounter.
  4. *While the pharmaceuticals are listed, the associated charge is not because the charge is dependent upon the dosage, which varies based on patient need.

For a quick video explanation on understanding the chargemaster, click here. (from The Hospital and Healthsystem Assocation of Pennsylvania)

The CDM information is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. To review the CDM for Lancaster General Hospital, please click here.

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