HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A bill in the Pennsylvania State Senate would require approval from the Department of Health before a hospital or hospital system can be purchased.

The Health Care Facilities Act, sponsored by Sen. Katie Muth (D-Berks/Chester/Montgomery) would also require hospitals to publish the prices for procedures online, also known as price transparency, which is already federally mandated for most hospitals in the United States.

Muth cites the recent closure of two Tower Health hospitals in Chester County, Jennersville and Brandywine.

Senate Bill 1322 would require the Department of Health to review applications, hold public hearings, and prepare impact statements on the effect of the buying and selling of health care services that the hospital or hospital system is providing.

An acquisition would include a change of ownership or control of 2-0% or more of assets, operations, or voting securities of the hospital or system. It would also cover an acquiring person or holding taking control of more than 50% of the assets, operations, or voting.

The price transparency measure of the bill would require a hospital or hospital system to establish, update, and publish on its publicly accessible website a list of its standard charges for each item or service that it provides.

The list would include a description of the service, the gross charge that applies, the payer-specific negotiated charge, the de-identified minimum and maximum negotiated charge, the discounted cash price, and any code used by the hospital for accounting or billing.

Most hospitals in the United States are required to provide clear pricing information online about the services they provide

The bill was referred to the Health and Human Services Committee on September 7.