What the worst "F word" is in healthcare

Updated: Apr 16, 2019

The secret no hospital wants you to know about. Most patients assume that their insurance will cover all costs associated with a procedure performed in a hospital - this is not the case. Enter the nastiest and secretive term in business of healthcare - the Facility Fee. This is simply a charge assigned by a hospital facility for a patient just to enter a room for care or a procedure. For instance, a very common pain management procedure which takes 10 minutes and is performed as an outpatient is an epidural steroid injection. In a hospital setting, the patient is assessed a fee for the doctor's work and supplies. Additionally, there is the infamous facility fee which appears on the bill to much surprise- the charge assigned by the hospital just to use the room in which the injection was performed. This can be hundreds of dollars or more.

Patients often get blindsided by this because is it not discussed with them in a transparent manner prior to their treatment. In an office based setting, the same 10 minute procedure is performed with the patient paying the office visit copay - there is no facility fee. When providers refer patients to hospitals for simple treatments such as an epidural steroid injection, they rarely consider the financial impact it may have on the patient.

Our patients deserve better - they deserve transparency as well as expert and comprehensive care in a low cost setting. Patients need to be educated about potential facility fees PRIOR to their treatments so that they can make informed decisions with regards to the location, and hence cost, of their care. #painmanagement #faciltyfee #expertise