The Doctors continue to help you navigate the often frustrating healthcare system and share that some hospitals are charging patients a "facility fee" without their knowledge.
Surgical oncologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital Dr. Marty Makary, who authored "The Price We Pay," call these fees "the new secret markup" and compares them to a hotel resort fee. He explains the hospital's facility fee can sometimes be more than the actual hospital bill. He strongly feels patients need to challenge these facility fees when they are charged for them.
Dan experienced this issue when he got a cortisone shot for a shoulder injury, and he was charged nearly $1400 dollars for an operating room facility fee, but he was never in an operating room. He was able to negotiate for a lower charge but still ended up paying $700 dollars in fees.
Dr. Makary suggests patients should ask their doctor prior to treatment if there will be any hidden charges or facility fees for a procedure in their office. He also says you can ask to have a surgery performed at another hospital with lower fees.
But what should patients do when they get a bill for an unexpected fee from a hospital?
Dr. Makary says healthcare providers should alert patients to possible facility fees ahead of time. When contacting the hospital about the bill, he suggests making sure the person you are speaking with has the power to lower or negotiate the bill, and if not, to find out who can. He also says to seek out the help of the doctor, who can also help with these issues.