MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG)– When the federal government started requiring hospitals to release their prices for most procedures last year, many were slow to comply.

Now, most in the Memphis area have caught up, according to Turquoise Health Vice President of Operations Marcus Dorstel.

His company has released a tool that gives patients an easy way to search the prices and other hospital quality measures online.

“I think some of your major health systems are Baptist Memorial, Methodist, Tenet; they all had really compliant files,” Dorstel said.

“This is a first because it puts consumers in the driver’s seat” said Cynthia Fisher with Patient Rights Advocate.

She told the Problem Solvers the new requirement would lead to huge opportunities for consumers.

“All of us will be able to shop for healthcare like we do for airlines,” Fisher said.

Jackie Tillman could’ve benefitted from the new law; two years ago, she got a knee MRI at Methodist University Hospital. She doesn’t have insurance and they billed her so much, she later regretted getting it.

When using Turquoise to research costs for knee MRIs, the cash prices included around $1,200 at Baptist Memorial, more than $2,000 at Methodist University, and nearly $5,000 at Saint Francis.

The best rates are at Baptist-DeSoto and Saint Bernards Behavioral Health in Jonesboro, where you can get knee MRIs each for around $800.

And if you don’t mind driving, Milan General Hospital shows a cash price of $376.

If you have insurance, you put in the company and some other information to get the cost.

“There’s value to shopping around because of the big variation of prices we’re seeing,” Dorstel said.

You can also use the tool to search by facility and see quality ratings as well as where their costs fall compared to others in the same market.

Fisher said she’d still like to see companies do more with the data, like allow patients to compare prices at multiple facilities at once.