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Hospital Pricing Transparency

As the community-owned healthcare system for the nation's third most populous county, we deliver fully integrated healthcare services to a broad cross section of Harris County residents. Some of our patients are funded by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance, but many are among the roughly 1 million Harris County residents who are uninsured or underinsured.

During fiscal year 2019, Harris Health provided $650 million of charity care, delivering a level of quality that rivals top-notch private institutions. In fact, Harris Health System boasts numerous clinical services that are among the best in the nation.

Charge Description Master/Standard Charges
The Charge Description Master (CDM)​ or charge master is a comprehensive database of all billable/non-billable items that can be billed to patients’ accounts. It contains the descriptions, billing codes (i.e., revenue codes and CPT®/HCPCS codes), and charge amounts for these services. These charge amounts rarely reflect the amount a patient owes at the time of billing.

Many things — including the patient’s health insurance plan/benefits, and the amount of monies the patient both owes and has paid toward their yearly deductible, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximum — determine the amount the patient will be billed for services provided. For example, Harris Health’s indigent patients’ financial responsibility is determined by their eligibility application. Another example is Medicare/Medicaid patients whose financial responsibilities are determined by the state and federal rules associated with their benefits that are communicated back to the provider/facility when Medicare/Medicaid pays their portion of the claim. If there is a patient amount due, the patient will be billed the amount Medicare/Medicaid identifies as patient responsibility. Another example is commercial insurance patients whose benefits and financial responsibility (for both in-network and out-of-network providers/facilities) are defined in their health insurance plan's coverage documents. These patients will be billed the amount the payor identifies as patient responsibility when the health insurance plan pays their responsible portion of the claim. A final example is for self-pay patients who do not have formal health insurance plan benefits or state or federal rules geared toward determining their financial responsibility; Harris Health System has adopted a process where Medicare’s benefits and fee schedules are used to determine the self-pay patients’ financial responsibility or billed amount. This means that self-pay patients are expected to pay, not the actual charge amount, but rather the amount Medicare would have paid based on their fee schedules. If the service is not a benefit of Medicare but is a benefit of Medicaid, a Medicaid fee schedule will be utilized.

Shoppable Service
A shoppable service is a service that can be scheduled by a healthcare consumer in advance.

Such services are routinely provided in non-urgent situations that do not require immediate action or attention to the patient, thus allowing patients to price shop and schedule a service at a time that is convenient for them.
Examples of common shoppable services include imaging and laboratory services, medical and surgical procedures, and outpatient clinic visits.

You may download the following ZIP files for review:

Charge Description Master/Standard Charges
This document includes:

  • Charge Type
  • Service Code (CPT/HCPCS)
  • Service Description
  • Charge amount
  • Traditional Medicare, Traditional Medicaid and Contracted Payor Specific Contractual Reimbursments 
  • Discounted Cash Price
  • De-identified Minimum Contractual Reimbursement
  • De-identified Maximum Contractual Reimbursement
    • No amount provided under charge amount denotes services not provided (charged or billed) at Harris Health System
    • The requirement for the file was for CMS MS-DRG’s, ones accepted by Medicare and other commercial payors. Harris Health System has added to the file the Texas Medicaid APR-DRG’s in order to provide an estimate for Medicaid related payments/services. Where Texas Medicaid rates are unusually low that generally represents services that are not applicable or low volume
    • Hospital pass through rates, add on rates, and standard rate reductions by CMS and Texas Medicaid are not reflected in these files.

Shoppable Services
This document includes:

  • Charge Type
  • Service Code (CPT/HCPCS)
  • Service Description
  • Charge amount
  • Traditional Medicare, Traditional Medicaid and Contracted Payor Specific Contractual Reimbursments 
  • Discounted Cash Price
  • De-identified Minimum Contractual Reimbursement
  • De-identified Maximum Contractual Reimbursement
    • No amount provided under charge amount denotes services not provided (charged or billed) at Harris Health System
    • The requirement for the file was for CMS MS-DRG’s, ones accepted by Medicare and other commercial payors. Harris Health System has added to the file the Texas Medicaid APR-DRG’s in order to provide an estimate for Medicaid related payments/services. Where Texas Medicaid rates are unusually low that generally represents services that are not applicable or low volume
    • Hospital pass through rates, add on rates, and standard rate reductions by CMS and Texas Medicaid are not reflected in these files.

COVID-19 Diagnostic Test(s)​​
This document includes:

  • Charge Type
  • Service Code (CPT/HCPCS)
  • Service Description
  • Charge amount
  • Traditional Medicare, Traditional Medicaid and Contracted Payor Specific Contractual Reimbursments 
  • Discounted Cash Price
  • De-identified Minimum Contractual Reimbursement
  • De-identified Maximum Contractual Reimbursement
    • No amount provided under charge amount denotes services not provided (charged or billed) at Harris Health System
    • The requirement for the file was for CMS MS-DRG’s, ones accepted by Medicare and other commercial payors. Harris Health System has added to the file the Texas Medicaid APR-DRG’s in order to provide an estimate for Medicaid related payments/services. Where Texas Medicaid rates are unusually low that generally represents services that are not applicable or low volume
    • Hospital pass through rates, add on rates, and standard rate reductions by CMS and Texas Medicaid are not reflected in these files.

Harris Health System also has available a hardcopy of its charge description master for public viewing Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. (excluding holidays). To view a copy of the charge description master, please visit:

Patient Financial Services
Harris Health System
4828 Loop Central Drive, Suite 300
Houston, Texas 77081
If you have questions, please call 713-566-6600 or email customerservice@harrishealth.org.