What is a Hospital CHARGE MASTER?

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By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA

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According to George Washington University, a hospital chargemaster is a comprehensive list of a hospital’s products, procedures, and services. Everything from prescription drugs to supplies for diagnostic tests has a unique price listing in the chargemaster, making it a go-to document for hospital administrators such as CFOs, clinical documentation improvement specialists, and revenue directors.

Chargemaster usage dates back to the mid-20th century. At that time, fee-for-service (FFS) health insurance plans, which allow patients to direct their medical care by choosing physicians and facilities and paying a portion of the billed total, had just emerged in the U.S. healthcare system. The chargemaster originally served as something akin to an FFS dictionary, with an entry for virtually anything billable under that economic model of healthcare.

CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/082610254

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Over time, FFS itself has evolved and been challenged by alternatives like value-based care (VBC). Chargemasters built for FFS have changed accordingly, and they remain fixtures of the modern hospital revenue cycle. A standard chargemaster is a large electronic file containing multiple elements for each entry. These attributes usually include:

  • The charge for a single unit of the service in question
  • A Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code; CPT is the official medical code set of the American Medical Association
  • Potentially, a Healthcare Common Practice Coding System (HCPCS) code; HCPCS is based on CPT
  • Alternative CPT and HCPCS codes if needed, e.g. one corresponding only to specific payers
  • A revenue code associated with the charge
  • Flag(s) indicating if the entry is scheduled for deletion, active or inactive
  • An internal reference number within the ledger for accounting purposes

LINK: https://revcycleintelligence.com/features/the-role-of-the-hospital-chargemaster-in-revenue-cycle-management

COURT: https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/colorado-supreme-court-rules-in-favor-of-woman-who-expected-to-pay-dollar1337-for-surgery-but-was-charged-dollar303709/ar-AAXlqNU?li=BBnbfcL

MORE: https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2013/09/26/some-modern-issues-impacting-hospital-revenue-cycles/

RCC: https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2013/03/06/a-better-approach-to-hospital-cost-estimation/

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COMMENTS APPRECIATED

Thank You

FINANCE: https://www.amazon.com/Financial-Management-Strategies-Healthcare-Organizations/dp/1466558733/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1380743521&sr=8-3&keywords=david+marcinko

BUSINESS: https://www.amazon.com/Business-Medical-Practice-Transformational-Doctors/dp/0826105750/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1448163039&sr=8-9&keywords=david+marcinko

HEALTH INSURANCE: https://www.amazon.com/Dictionary-Health-Insurance-Managed-Care/dp/0826149944/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275315485&sr=1-4

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