A Colorado children’s hospital charged a woman nearly $850 as a “facility fee” for a telehealth visit via a “Zoom call” for her 3-year-old son, local outlet KDVR reported.
“I can tell you right now I would’ve gone elsewhere if they had told me there was an $850 fee, essentially for a Zoom call,” mother Brittany Tesso told KDVR. She received the bill from Children’s Hospital Colorado after an initial $676.89 charge for a two-hour speech therapy examination, which Tesso “thought was extreme,” but nonetheless paid.
“I was like, ‘Facility fee? I didn’t go to your facility. I was at home, and as far as I could tell, some of the doctors were at home too.’ And [a hospital representative] said, ‘Well, we charge the same whether you come to the facility or it’s a telehealth appointment,'” Tesso said, KDVR reported.
Five little monkeys jumping on the bed. One fell off and bumped his head. Momma called the doctor and the doctor said “While this may be a telemedicine visit, you will still be charged a hospital facility fee of several hundred dollars.”
— Brett Kelman (@BrettKelman) January 17, 2022
“This sounds like essentially gouging, it’s really charging for a facility, i.e., the hospital, which they are not even accessing,” Adam Fox, deputy director at the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, told KDVR.
In an effort to provide affordable healthcare to residents, legislators introduced Colorado Option, a form of state-backed health insurance, according to the Denver Business Journal. Critics of the plan have said that it will place too much power in the hands of state politicians, which could pose a risk for consumers.
“We got a $20 bill for the doctor and then a couple of weeks later we got a second bill for $503,” Micheal Kark said to KDVR after he took his 5-year-old son to see a psychologist to treat food allergies. (RELATED: Hospitals Are Getting Away With Ignoring Price Transparency Rules, Experts Say)
In a response to KDVR, Children’s Hospital Colorado did not address the $847.35 charge and claimed that it seeks “affordable and accessible care” for all patients.
“This is not exclusively a Children’s Colorado issue, and we suggest that you speak to other providers, insurers, and legislators to provide a broader perspective on the system that governs how we all operate,” the hospital told KDVR. “We want affordable and accessible care for all of our patients, and we continually look at our practices to see where we can adjust and improve while at the same time, we work to build a functioning system of care for kids.”
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