Woman reading medical bill

(Updated 2022) “When Nancy DuBois began experiencing shoulder pain early last year, she worried she might need rotator cuff surgery. She saw a specialist at Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine, near the Tulane football stadium, who diagnosed her instead with a frozen shoulder, a common condition caused by injury or over-use. The visit, including an x-ray and a cortisone shot, lasted about 30 minutes, she said,” writes our partner Jed Lipinski over at NOLA.com I The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, in an article about facility fees. “A month later, DuBois got a bill from Tulane University Medical Group. It said she owed $100 out-of-pocket for the doctor’s visit and the injection, on top of her $50 co-pay, according to the bill. She was okay with that. The next day, she got a second bill from Tulane Medical Center for a hospital visit, drugs and x-ray. This one said she owed an extra $137.

“DuBois was puzzled. She’d gone to a sports medicine clinic, not a hospital. She called Tulane Medical Center to dispute the charge, she said, but a representative told her it was correct. That’s when DuBois learned about ‘facility fees.’

“‘The lady told me, ‘Whenever you see a doctor there, you may incur a facility charge,'” DuBois, a retired office manager and bookkeeper in Metairie, recently recalled. ‘When I contacted Blue Cross, they told me the same thing: “‘If the hospital owns the clinic, they can charge you a facility charge.'”

“‘It didn’t make any sense,’ she added. ‘What are we paying for, their rent?'” Jed Lipinski, “Surprise ‘facility fees’ in many New Orleans area hospital bills often exceed doctor’s fees” NOLA.com I The Times-Picayune.

high patient fee article

Here’s the FOX 8 Live story by Lee Zurik “One consumer’s lesson, from shoulder pain to facility fee.” Click on the link or the image at right.

For more from our series, go to this page describing the Cracking the Code partnership of NOLA.com I The Times-Picayune, WVUE FOX 8 Live and ClearHealthCosts, and cataloging our news coverage. For more on our national partnerships, go to this page.

DID YOU SAVE money with information from ClearHealthCosts or “Cracking the Code?  Tell us by email at info@clearhealthcosts.com or health@fox8live.com.

DO YOU HAVE PRICES to share to help build our community-created guide to health care? Or are you looking for price information?

Click over to our New Orleans PriceCheck interactive software at WVUE Fox 8 Live and at NOLA.com I The Times-Picayune. Search our prices in our New Orleans-focused partnership. For non-New Orleans shares and searches, here’s the search and share page on our national ClearHealthCosts site.

ARE YOU A PROVIDER wishing to share prices?

This page has a sample spreadsheet showing the data that will let us include your prices. Download, fill it out and return to us at info@clearhealthcosts.com or health@fox8live.com.


Jeanne Pinder

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...