Council 4 Urges Scrutiny of Facility Fees

Council 4 and other unions representing both public employees and health care providers urged Comptroller Kevin Lembo to prohibit the use of hospital facility fees because they impose additional costs on our insured members and all taxpayers.

Lembo held a public hearing Nov. 3 as part of an ongoing investigation into the consolidations of hospitals and other health care providers and their impact on the state health plan -- particularly the increasing use of facility fees.

Public Act 14-217 charges the Office of the State Comptroller with evaluating the impact of provider consolidation with hospital systems on the state employee plan, including the impact of facility fees.

"The impact of facility fees is directly felt by our members and all Connecticut taxpayers," Council 4 Legislative and Political Representative Matthew Brokman testified before a panel led by Lembo. "These fees damage the progress we’ve made at the bargaining table to protect patient care and control costs in a reasonable and effective manner."

Facility fees are charges that are routinely tacked on to patients’ bills, not just for services actually provided in hospitals, but also by outpatient care centers and doctors’ offices that have been purchased by hospital-based health care systems. State healthcare advocate Victoria Veltri said the fees can range from $25 to $5000.

Brokman also testified that facility fees impact our members who work for municipal and board of education employers that have fewer health care options and less ability to negotiate with hospitals and other providers on behalf of taxpayers and plan participants.

Lembo will report his findings to the governor and legislature by Oct. 1, 2015.