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Patients Hit With 'Surprise Bills' After Urgent Care Visits28:01
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Partners HealthCare at Assembly Row in Somerville (Jesse Costa/WBUR)MoreCloseclosemore
Partners HealthCare at Assembly Row in Somerville (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

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?

Guests

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.

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