February 7, 2024 — Comments

This is a comment responding to the FTC’s proposed junk fee rule from organizations focusing on health and consumer protection issues, including medical debt, disability rights, health equity, and economic justice. The comment focuses on the application of the proposed rule to “facility fees,” which are charges that ostensibly cover the operational expenses of hospitals. As hospitals acquire physician practices and other previously independent providers, patients are seeing facility fee charges more frequently – including for services in freestanding physician offices and telehealth services, not at a hospital.

The comment urges the FTC to protect patients from hidden, misleading, and excessive facility fees. It provides background on how facility fees are charged, the recent increase in facility fees for outpatient and emergency services, and the impact of facility fees on patients. It outlines how the FTC’s proposed rule applies to facility fees for various services and recommends that the FTC investigate the rising costs of facility fees. Finally, it recommends that the FTC initiate a separate rulemaking on facility fees.