With integrated delivery systems and hospital-practice affiliations gaining traction across the industry, more patients are finding added charges on their bills. That's because some hospitals are charging an extra "facilities charge" when patients receive care at off-site hospital-affiliated locations, according to the Sun Herald.
When patients at Mississippi's Memorial Hospital at Gulfport visit a hospital physician at his or her office, they receive the facility charge plus the physician fee.
Billing separately for the facility and for physician services, when the hospital owns physician practices and outpatient clinics, is "the national model for large integrated delivery systems," according to Memorial Hospital's website.
Many patients fail to discover the extra fees until they receive the bill, even though hospitals have been implementing such off-site hospital facility fees for years.
However, Memorial Hospital at Gulfport maintains the billing practice guarantees more appropriate payment for services provided by hospital staff and physicians.
To keep patients informed and enhance transparency, hospitals should remain open about fees and billing practices, as well as clearly identify any facility affiliations.