Summary: “Hospital-based clinics tack on ‘facility fee’ charges, which are separate from the bill for the doctors’ services, for the use of the room in which the patient was seen,” Niran Al-Agba writes over at The Health Care Blog. “One hospital administrator told me to think of it as ‘room rental.’ Facility fees bring in a considerable flow of cash and have the secondary benefit of incentivizing hospitals to buy independent practices because then the hospital can charge two to five times more. Buying independent practices, like Peninsula Children’s Clinic, expands the hospitals’ market share and allows greater leverage when negotiating reimbursements. Payers must acquiesce and pay the facility fees. As the payers are forced to pay more to the hospitals and hospital-based clinics, guess where they make cuts? They cut their fees to the independent private practice physicians, already struggling to make ends meet. My practice was notified of the impending 50% cut in reimbursement from Kaiser Permanente for specific codes just last week for private providers. In the meantime, as the government incentivized hospitals, are costs getting lower? Are consumers spending less? Are outcomes improving at record speed? Nope, and they won’t be anytime soon.” Niran Al-Agba, “You’ve Got Facility Fees!” The Health Care Blog.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded ClearHealthCosts.
She was previously a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia University School of Journalism. ClearHealthCosts has won grants from the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York; the International Women’s Media Foundation; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with KQED public radio in San Francisco and KPCC in Los Angeles; the Lenfest Foundation in Philadelphia for a partnership with The Philadelphia Inquirer; and the New York State Health Foundation for a partnership with WNYC public radio/Gothamist in New York; and other honors.
Her TED talk about fixing health costs has surpassed 2 million views.