Want non-emergency care in the emergency department? Pay up first.
After performing a federally-mandated screening exam, many hospitals are now charging an up-front fee of $100 to $150 to be treated for non-urgent complaints. Don’t want to pay? You’ll get a list of other health care resources and can leave.
ACEP is against such a policy, arguing that 2 to 7 percent of patients determined to have “nonemergency” conditions are admitted to a hospital within 24 hours and that a vast majority of patients have conditions requiring urgent treatment.
I don’t think the policy is a bad idea, provided that patients have an alternative source for routine care. Medical care costs money … a lot of money.
The problem is that when the practice becomes commonplace and a public outcry occurs, I can only imagine what new laws that will be created to force hospitals/providers to provide treatment to all emergency department patients.