Florida urgent care centers have until Friday to install signs in their reception areas that list the prices of their 50 most frequently provided urgent care services. The mandate is part of HB 935, which was approved by Florida Governor Rick Scott on June 2. Urgent care centers that don’t comply by Friday will face some stiff fines – up to $1,000 per day until they get those signs up. State Representative Richard Corcoran (R), who sponsored the bill, says the goal is to provide patients with transparency in the cost of their healthcare. In media interviews, he has even gone so far as to say he expects this bill to be a stepping stone to making the cost of healthcare services more accessible to patients – a lofty goal given that healthcare services are not as easily priced as, say, the menu items at a fast food restaurant. As any physician will tell you, there are many different factors that contribute to what each patient is charged for their visit. In the case of urgent care, proper codes for visits cannot even be determined until:
- after the doctor has evaluated the patient,
- ordered tests, and
- selected treatment.
It would seem to be more helpful to the public simply to note that the “typical visit” (i.e. median) costs $94 and note that costs may vary depending on tests, treatments, and severity of illness. To my urgent care colleagues in Florida, I wish you all the best in meeting the requirements of this bill by the end of the week.