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Governor Mills Signs Bill LD 1795 Into Law, Focused on Hospital Facility Fees

For Immediate Release: July 12, 2023

FMI Contact Consumers for Affordable Health Care:
Kate Ende, Policy Director 207-480-2136

Ann Woloson, Executive Director 207-480-2133

Governor Mills Signs Bill LD 1795 Into Law, Focused on Hospital Facility Fees

Augusta, Maine July 12th, 2023 – Consumers for Affordable Health Care (CAHC) commends Governor Janet Mills for signing into law legislation to improve transparency in hospital billing practices.  LD 1795, An Act to Create Greater Transparency for Facility Fees Charged by Health Care Providers and to Establish the Task Force to Evaluate the Impact of Facility Fees on Patients, was sponsored by Senate President Troy Jackson and received unanimous support from the Maine Legislature.

“We are thrilled Governor Mills has signed this important legislation into law and we are grateful to Senate President Troy Jackson for championing this issue and to the rest of the Maine Senate and the Maine House for their unanimous bipartisan support in passing this legislation,” said Kate Ende, Policy Director of Consumers for Affordable Health Care. “Through our HelpLine, we have heard from Mainers who have received multiple facility fees for a single visit, were charged facility fees at freestanding urgent care clinics, and who have been charged facility fees for telehealth visits. Most people we hear from do not expect to be charged a facility fee when they receive routine care or outpatient services, especially when their provider’s office isn’t located in a hospital or on a hospital campus. This law is a necessary step to help us better understand the impacts of facility fees on patients and medical costs in Maine, as well as what changes are needed to better protect Maine people from unexpected or unfair charges when seeking medical care.”

The new law aims to shed light on the impact that facility fees have on patients and improve medical cost transparency. The law directs the Maine Health Data Organization (MHDO) to create and annually publish a report on payments for facility fees in Maine and establishes a task force to evaluate the impact of facility fees on patients. The task force will:

  • Review industry practices for charging facility fees, as well as how these funds are used and the impact of facility fees on patients;
  • Review federal transparency requirements regarding cost of treatment for hospitals and health insurance carriers, identify any gaps or redundancies between federal and state laws, and identify any issues with enforcement;
  • Consider efforts in other states and by national organizations related to facility fees and what impacts these efforts would have on health care costs if implemented in Maine; and
  • Make recommendations to the legislature for changes in laws or rules regarding facility fees and medical cost transparency.

The unanimous support and subsequent signing of this bill into law demonstrate the commitment of Governor Mills and the Maine Legislature to improving health care cost transparency in Maine.

A survey of Maine voters regarding their views on Health Care Affordability released by CAHC found a strong majority of Mainers support proposals to improve transparency and reduce the costs of health care. In fact, the survey results show nine out of ten Maine voters support strengthening and enforcing hospital price transparency rules and limiting hospital charges.

The complete survey results can be found here. The survey was conducted by Digital Research Inc., in December 2022. Results presented have a margin of sampling error of +/- 4.4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All survey respondents were registered voters who live in Maine; final data were statistically weighted to reflect the demographics of the state’s population.