Patients Challenge Hospital Fees

The Boston Globe reports on this trend. In other news, CQ HealthBeat reports that the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission gave a nod to shared-decision making between doctors and patients.

Boston Globe: Hospital Charges Bring A Backlash
Patients, angered by surprise surcharges that hospitals tack on bills for doctor visits, are increasingly challenging these fees — sometimes even refusing to pay. Hospitals say the charges cover their overhead, but the fees are sometimes added to the bill even when patients are treated in offices miles away from the medical centers. The fees can reach hundreds of dollars, and some resistant patients end up being pursued by collection agencies. Others, such as Wendy Frosh, are dropping longtime caregivers in favor of physicians not employed by hospitals (Kowalczyk, 3/11).

CQ HealthBeat: Shared Decision-Making By Doctors, Patients Elusive Goal In Medicare, Panel Says
Medicare Payment Advisory Commission members agreed Friday that doctors should give patients a much better sense of their treatment options for certain serious medical conditions. But they were at a loss to recommend how to make that happen on a widespread basis…Commissioners specifically wrestled with "shared decision-making," an approach designed to better incorporate patient preferences when it comes to treating such diseases as prostate and breast cancer and cardiovascular conditions where the medical evidence is unclear about which of several treatment options is best (Reichard, 3/8).

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