Many consumers today are becoming more conscious of where their money is going and what they are getting for it—and healthcare is no exception. The policy of charging patients a facility fee—issuing a separate bill from the center or facility in addition to issuing a professional fee from the doctor—is a recent topic that has led many patients feeling confused, angry and misled.
While consumers are turning to urgent or convenient care centers, some urgent care centers are under the ownership of hospitals. This imposes the same facility fees hospitals charge and leaves patients with an additional bill for a service they believed they were saving money on. These facility fees drastically increase costs for healthcare consumers, and many are not even aware it’s happening until they receive the bill.
Despite facility fees being legal, many are starting to question these urgent care centers and ER alternatives that charge facility fees. Although medical facilities must disclose what a patient will be charged and who they are owned by, many people find that the signs, forms and documents these medical facilities provide are not as clear as they should be, especially when it comes to these additional charges. Further, it’s important for consumers to know that urgent care centers are not required to charge facility fees.
“Our goal is to educate the public on what they could potentially be charged for and how to avoid it,” continues Dr. Radford. “The best way to avoid an expensive facility fee is to understand what it is and which urgent care centers charge them. We recommend calling your local urgent care facility and simply ask whether or not they charge facility fees. At Five Star Urgent Care, we never do.”
Five Star Urgent Care’s Ithaca location proudly serves the Ithaca, Lansing, Dryden, Newfield, Trumansburg, Spencer and Slaterville locations.