Doctors to Charge Fees for Off-hours Calls

CHICAGO, Sept. 29 (UPI) — A physicians group in Chicago has told patients they will be charged $25 for placing non-emergency phone calls to their doctors outside of office hours.

Patients of Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation — doctors who teach at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and practice at Northwestern Memorial Hospital — were recently sent a letter saying that beginning Friday they will be charged for non-emergency calls outside of office hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, Crain’s (Chicago) Business reported Wednesday.

“This is about a thoughtful medical practice trying to enable its physicians to provide care to as many patients as possible without becoming overwhelmed,” Dr. Jeffrey Glassroth, president and chief executive officer of Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation, says in a statement. “This initiative is primarily being done to enhance service and spread work evenly.”

In addition, patients were informed they could be charged $25 to $50 for filling out patient-requested paperwork outside of an office visit, patients who miss an appointment without a day’s notice could be charged $50 and patients could be charged $25 for providing online medical consultations, Crain’s reported.

However, the doctors won’t charge a fee if the phone call or consultation leads to an office visit within seven days or if they are used to clarify a physician’s instructions.

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