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Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

In surprise, Ga. hospitals could face new disclosure rules 

Georgia lawmakers adopted Gov. Brian Kemp’s Medicaid waiver plan and boosted legislation that would overhaul hospital regulations. But a third move on Monday that got less attention could also set up sweeping changes to the healthcare system. 

The Senate Finance Committee passed a surprise version of a Medicaid funding bill that was loaded with new transparency provisions that require nonprofit hospitals to post detailed financial statements, patient revenue details and the location and price of land they own.

The nonprofit hospitals would also be required to list how much money each has in the bank and the salaries and the fringe benefits of their 10 highest paid administrators, along with the details from questionnaires and audits of programs.  

Those requirements were first included in separate legislation that would overhaul the certificate-of-need system that governs how new hospitals can be created. They were seen as a broadside against nonprofit groups fighting changes to the system. 

After the disclosure requirements were slipped into House Bill 321, though, some lawmakers and lobbyists seemed caught off guard. It sparked little discussion after the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Blake Tillery, introduced it as a way to add a “little bit of transparency” for hospitals. 

A lobbyist for the Georgia Hospital Association said late Monday the group was reviewing the new provisions. Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, meanwhile, signaled his wholehearted support for the disclosure requirements on Twitter.

“Are big Atlanta hospital conglomerates really going to oppose $900 million of Medicaid dollars because they’re opposed to basic transparency?” he wrote. “If so, it makes you wonder what they are hiding.” 

More: Rural hospitals brace for changes proposed in Georgia Legislature 

More: Georgia lawmakers approve Kemp’s plan for Medicaid, Obamacare waivers 

More: Kemp threatens ‘executive action’ if hospital deregulation push stalls 

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