Doctors Offices Are Now Charging Administrative Fees

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Mar 07, 2024 - 11:55 AM

As if the cost of healthcare rising wasn't enough on its own, some doctors offices are now charging their patients for administrative tasks, according to a new report from Fox News.

Doctors say administrative tasks are "taking more time away from patient care", according to the article, which they say hurts their bottom line. 

Medical experts informed FOX Business that some are now charging patients for services such as email consultations and additional paperwork, aiming to offset losses from decreased in-person visits.

Robert Pearl, a former CEO of Permanente Medical Group and Stanford University professor, told Fox News that doctors often apply a concierge fee for such access to medical care, a trend gaining momentum as patients sidestep office visits due to fears of escalating out-of-pocket expenses.

Moreover, PwC researchers project a significant 7% surge in health care costs in 2024, marking the most substantial increase in a decade, according to Pearl.

Pearl said: "You find yourself saying, 'Oh my gosh, if I see the doctor, I got to pay $300, $400, $500. I can't afford that. Let me send an email."

"Ultimately, the economics are driving a change that's basically sapping more and more of the doctor's time," he added. 

The National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) expresses concern that such measures will further complicate access to care for some patients, the report says. 

NPAF spokesperson Caitlin Donovan said: "There's going to ultimately be people who say, 'I'm not going to reach out to my doctor because I don't want to get charged for this."

"We want there to be trust between the patient and the provider going both ways because that means that there's going to be better outcomes," she said. 

Pearl responded: "They don't have enough time to do the job they're required to do. And this is an opportunity to say, 'OK, well, if I have to fill out all these forms, I better charge for them, because if I don't charge for them, I have even less time with my family or to do the activities that I needed in my particular life.'"

Both parties think that AI could wind up leading to the solution.