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Patients Hit With 'Surprise Bills' After Urgent Care Visits

Partners HealthCare at Assembly Row in Somerville (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Partners HealthCare at Assembly Row in Somerville (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
This article is more than 4 years old.

Have you ever gone to an urgent care clinic for medical treatment? Did you later get a bill that you didn't expect? According to a new report from The Boston Globe, that's apparently happened to quite a few people.

Attorney General Maura Healey has investigated the billing practices of hospitals that own some urgent care clinics and private doctors' offices.

In September, Partners HealthCare and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary agreed to a $175,000 settlement after Healey's office found they violated Massachusetts’ consumer protection law. Partners HealthCare agreed to improve transparency about its billing.

The question now: If charging patients a facilities fee and notifying them later is common practice among health care providers, how should the system be regulated? Should it be allowed at all?


Liz Kowalczyk, Boston Globe reporter, focusing on hospitals, doctors and the patient perspective. She tweets @GlobeLizK.

Dr. Stuart Altman, economist and professor of national health policy at Brandeis University.

Elisabeth Rosenthal, editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News and the author of the book "American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back." She tweets @RosenthalHealth.

This segment aired on November 28, 2018.

Deborah Becker Host/Reporter
Deborah Becker is a senior correspondent and host at WBUR. Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.


Eve Zuckoff Freelance Producer, Radio Boston
Eve Zuckoff was a freelance producer for Radio Boston.


Paris Alston Host, Consider This
Paris Alston was WBUR's host of the Consider This podcast and a former producer for Radio Boston.



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