Patients Being Charged For Hospital Fees Without Going to the Hospital

( – Hospitals are jacking up the prices for patients, and it seems like the prices are high even if the patient never steps foot into an actual hospital.

The “hospital facility fee” is a charge that hospitals can add to bills from doctors’ offices and outpatient clinics even if the facility is miles from a hospital campus by labeling them as “outpatient hospital departments.”

Liz Hagan is director of policy solutions at a non-profit advocacy group called the United States of Care, and she spoke out about these fees. Hagan said, “It’s one of the most egregious examples of hospital financing at the expense of consumers.”

There isn’t any data that shows how often or how many people are hit with charges like these, but it’s widespread and has happened even to the U.S. of Care’s own staff member who was charged while writing the report. In this case, a facility fee of over one hundred and fifty dollars was added to a bill that was originally for a flu test.

Said Hagan, “Ultimately, consumers are left paying the price for that. Either through higher insurance premiums, because hospital costs are built into premium costs, or at the point of service.”
These fees are rooted in the ways that hospitals bill patients, and they are broken down into two categories: “professional fees,” which are usually charged by doctors, and “facility fees,” which are usually charged by hospitals.
Some groups, such as the American Hospital Association, have fought against the fight to remove these fees.
“The cost of care delivered in hospitals and health systems – and any associated sites of care operated by the hospital – takes into account the many unique services that only they provide to their communities,” the AHA said. They also stated that taking away these fees would mean that hospitals would have to make major cuts.

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