Our series on health policy resolutions continues this month with our resolution on Facility Fees Billed to Patients, which encourages policy makers to pass legislation that discloses these fees at the time of an appointment.

When these fees are charged, in addition to the full price, for an office visit, when the clinician providing the service does not own the building within which care is delivered. We have found that when a facility fee is billed, total billed charges are 78.7 percent higher.

Often consumers do not realize they have incurred a facility fee until they receive their bill. Facility fees not only add significantly to the total cost of a patient health care visit, but cause confusion for both employers and patients looking to make informed health care decisions.

In an ideal world, providers would stop charging facility fees, but unless and until they do so, we believe that consumers have a right to know in advance of receiving care. Our resolution urges Wisconsin policy makers to require providers to notify consumers of applicable facility fees at the time an appointment is made. We believe the disclosure should include a good-faith estimate of the fee to enable consumers to assess the total cost-benefit of using a facility that charges facility fees.

During the last legislative session we supported Assembly Bill 207, which would require providers to notify patients of a facility fee at the time they make an appointment and provide an estimate of what the fee will be.

Members of The Alliance lent support to this bill by providing testimony, participating in legislative visits and writing letters to their representatives. Ultimately, the bill was passed by the Assembly Health Committee but was not voted on by the end of session.

We will continue to work on this issue with the legislature in future sessions.

Read the entire resolution: Resolution 1.01: Facility Fees Billed to Patients (.pdf)