Stethoscope and dollar sign Federal officials who developed the price transparency rule said the data could help consumers find better deals and help doctors and employers select the hospitals where they steer patients for service. (Image: Shutterstock)

Hospitals are evading the spirit of new price transparency regulations while technically following the letter of the law, a “Wall Street Journal” investigation has found.

Hospitals that have published their previously confidential prices also have blocked that information from web searches with special coding embedded on their websites. The information must be disclosed under a federal rule aimed at making the $1 trillion sector more consumer-friendly. However, hundreds of hospitals embedded code in their websites that prevented Google and other search engines from displaying pages with the price lists, according to an examination of more than 3,100 sites.

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