What’s a facility use fee?

I had a visit from this lovely cardinal yesterday.

Have you ever heard of a facility use fee? We ran up against one this week.

My husband had an appointment with an orthopedic doctor. The appointment was for a shot of cortisone in the knee. He asked if he could go to the doctor’s office but was told by staff that it had to be at a surgery center.

He wondered why, but was told that’s where procedures were done.

Then he got a text message from the doctor’s office that our deductible wasn’t met and it would be $1,600 for facility use. It was another $65 for the doctor and shot.

Of course my husband questioned this. But he went ahead with the appointment thinking there might be more happening than what he was expecting. Like maybe they needed a scope or an MRI, or something.

He said at the center there was an anesthesiologist, they put a bracelet on him like you’d get at a hospital. They wanted him in a hospital gown and there were four nurses in attendance. My husband lifted the leg of his sweats for the shot and refused the hospital gown. The anesthesiologist had nothing to do and stood oddly by.

I talked to a friend of mine who said they ran into the same thing for her husband when he was getting a cortisone shot.

Of course we’re fighting the fee, but be forewarned that it’s becoming a common practice.

Here’s a snippet from Consumer Reports:

When Dan Sokol saw an orthopedist for shoulder pain in January 2018, he got an X-ray and then a cortisone shot to treat what the doctor said was bursitis. It all took less than 30 minutes at the doctor’s office, and his shoulder pain went away.

So a few weeks later when Sokol, a 61-year-old bank credit officer who lives in Los Angeles, got a bill with more than $3,000 in charges from Cedars Sinai Medical Center, a hospital near his doctor’s office, he was sure there was a mistake.


Have you heard of a facility use fee before? Have you ever been charged one?

38 thoughts on “What’s a facility use fee?

  1. My stress level is rising just from reading your story. So sad! I get that everyone is trying to get paid and deserve to be paid fairly for their services … but an anesthesiologist sitting idle for something could have been done in the office. Ugh. Good luck!

  2. Welcome to the results of the financial damage done to the medical system by COVID restrictions. They’re all struggling to stay afloat so they are charging insane prices . Plus the whole healthcare model is changing. It will only get worse from here on .

  3. I’ve heard that term used in a different context EA- not like this although I sort of knew these sorts of things happen often. This is the most ridiculous thing I can imagine- but it’s our medical services system in 2023, especially if you have private insurance. This is clearly a way for your company to eek out more profit by charging for the use of space and staff that are totally unnecessary. OMG I would be irate and would have likely just walked out before anyone even touched me when I walked into that room with nurses and anesthetist standing around.

  4. Yes, I’ve experienced this several times over the last ~7 years. I wonder if it’s a Phoenix thing, or everywhere. The worst for me was a minor procedure in 2020, where the “facility fee” was $3,400 plus another $1,800 “specialize facility fee” for use of a latex-free room due to an allergy. I fought them for about 16 months, but wasn’t getting anywhere so ultimately paid so I wouldn’t go to collections. It’s so infuriating!!

  5. Yes, that happened to my wife. She was having hip surgery and what a surprise that as. Fortunately, the state has laws against “surprise” medical fees or “extortion” as another read called it. BTW, do you know what it means “When a cardinal appears in your yard, it’s a visitor from heaven.” Your mom hay have stopped by.

  6. Hubby just had a procedure on his back and it definitely needed to be done in a surgery center BUT he has a very low pain tolerance and instead of actually sedating him they gave him what they called “conscious sedation” and he said he felt the whole thing – 4 needles in his back. I’m wondering who’s idea that was since the last time he had to have this it was done under anesthesia. I would for sure fight your charges. I know that those kinds of injections are done in doctor’s offices all the time.

  7. No, I have not heard of this but both Mike and I go to the VA, so it is an easier procedure and one which we trust. I might need cortisone in my hip one day but for now physical therapy and walking seems to be doing the job. I did keep a close watch on an anesthesiologist while having a hysterotomy years ago. They made me nervous but I definitely needed them then!

  8. “Facility use fees” – Auto Service garages refer to these fees as “shop fees”, and are designed to cover rags, tool usage, Hand cleaner, chewing tobacco, Uber eats delivery, air hydraulics, overalls, the radio playing honky-tonk music, light being emitted from the bulbs. the NASCAR discussion, ESOL instructions for the oil guys, new CASTROL hats, lost 1/2 inch sockets, replaced screwdrivers used as hammers, and duct tape.

  9. It’s really frustrating to hear about the facility use fee and how it’s becoming more common in medical practices. It’s disheartening to think that we have to be vigilant and wary of hidden fees and charges when seeking medical care, especially when we’re already dealing with the stress of an injury or illness. Thank you for sharing your experience and shedding light on this issue. It’s important for us to be aware and informed as consumers.

  10. I’m very glad you did share this, because I’ve not heard of it. When I saw the title, I thought of hotels charging a facilities fee for the pool, etc. Which is also ridiculous. But what happened to your husband is outrageous!!! I would not stand for that. I don’t have insurance, so I’d be steaming if any healthcare provider pulled that scam on me. And they wouldn’t get away with it either. But I do know a cortisone shot is done routinely at any orthopedists office.

  11. I’ve heard of this. It’s an example of nickel-and-diming us to death. Except that it’s a lot more than loose change! It’s greed and the opposite of the Hippocratic oath… do no harm? As if bankrupting people isn’t harmful!

Leave a Reply