HARTFORD, Conn. – According to a report from Attorney General George Jepsen, 22 of the state’s 29 hospitals are now charging separate facility and professional fees along with services at their newly acquired outpatient departments or clinics.
Facility and professional fees, which can range from $100 to $1,000, are separate from a patient’s co-pay and they often take patients by surprise. Although hospitals have always charged facility fees for the use of the hospital itself, Jepsen’s report identifies the relatively recent phenomenon of hospitals charging patients such fees for services rendered in offices they own outside the main hospital building. This means that as more previously independent clinics and physicians are acquired by hospitals, more patients are charged hospital facility fees.
Facility fees can be expensive, surprising and confusing for patients, which is why Jepsen’s office undertook its review. Jepsen said his office has fielded about 70 complaints from consumers who have been charged these fees.
The complaints are similar. A patient goes to a dermatologist office for a routine skin biopsy and is charged $390. The office is close to a hospital and the patient has been going there for years. She is unaware the practice was acquired by the hospital, so when she returns for the same procedure she’s surprised that she’s asked to pay a $170 facility fee.
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