A report from State Attorney General George Jepsen calls attention to hospital “facility fees” and hosptial-acquired physician practices — two things that can lead to more out-of-pocket expenses for patients. And Jepsen is calling for lawmakers to move along legislation that would require more transparency about both issues.
Two bills he proposed already made it out of the Public Health Committee.
“Now what we’re saying in the legislature, ‘Well, you’re going to have to provide notice if you’re doing to charge fees,’” says co-chair Susan Johnson, who represents Willimantic. “What [charging facility fees] really does is it creates an increase in the cost of medical care, which really flies in the face of everything else the state’s been trying to do to reduce the costs.”
Facility fees are additional charges to patients seen in a hospital-affiliated outpatient setting. Jepsen’s report finds at least 22 of the state’s 29 acute-care hospitals charge them. He proposes requiring such fees to be more clearly disclosed to patients in advance of their care. His report does find some hospitals do an adequate job notifying patients of facility fees, but more transparency is needed.
The Connecticut Hospital Association says it supports the idea of more transparent pricing.