ERs To Charge Upfront Fees For Routine Care


Urgent care clinics

Soon, patients abusing the emergency room may have to pay for it. “A growing number of hospitals have implemented the pay-first policy in an effort to divert patients with routine illnesses from the ER after they undergo a federally required screening,” Kaiser Health News reveals. In other words, patients may be subject to a minimum of a $150 upfront fee if doctors determine that they are not seriously injured or ill during their required exam. Americans will have to pay the fee in its entirety before receiving treatment.

Doctors Debate: Is Requiring Routine Patients to Pay Upfront Worthwhile? Is It Ethical?

One thing is certain: the practice is entirely legal. The upfront charges, mostly implemented by establishments owned by the Hospital Corporation of American (HCA), do not apply to aging Americans (65 and up), pregnant women, or children under age 6. Doctors still perform a legally mandated medical screening. They can, however, turn patients away after the screening if they do not want to pay $150 for care and/or treatment.

Some healthcare professionals worry that immediate charges will discourage patients from seeking treatment altogether. This could potentially be problematic — especially since some serious conditions do not have particularly serious symptoms. Others maintain, however, that is a valuable motion — and one that will help patients and doctors. “These practices help reduce costs for both the patient and the hospital,” spokeswoman Tomi Galin says. “We think this is appropriate, given that some people use the ER in a way it was not intended: as a source for routine care.”

Where Else Do Patients Have To Go?

Americans with routine sicknesses or injuries do have options, if their traditional doctors’ offices are closed. Urgent care facilities are open late nights, weekends, and on holidays. Some walk in clinic hours are extremely flexible — with some urgent care locations open 24 hours a day. Immediate care centers have quality equipment and highly qualified staff; urgent care facilities are able to treat a variety of non-life-threatening emergencies, including sprains, strains, respiratory distress, food poisoning, and more.

Going to the emergency room can be extremely expensive — and, soon, doctors may ask you for money prior to treatment, too. There is a better way. Urgent care locations keep flexible hours — and they provide convenient, quality, and inexpensive care. Visit here for more:

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