A report from Becker’s Healthcare found that multiple hospital systems across the country are now billing patients for MyChart messages.

Ge Bai, PhD, professor of accounting and health policy at Johns Hopkins University, told Becker's that, "In general, systems are going to find every single opportunity to charge more. It's like milking the cow."

Here’s the good news: none of the reported systems charging for these messages are in North Carolina – yet.

Here’s the bad news: the state’s big hospital systems and their lobbyist are working hard to make sure they can soon start “milking the cow” here in North Carolina.

Last year, they pushed legislation that would mandate families and businesses, through their insurance premiums, cover (i.e., pay for) any healthcare service provided virtually if it’s covered in-person.

This could have put patients on the hook for emails, texts, and MyChart messages with their doctor .

It even went so far as to allow hospitals to bill patients for in-person charges such as facility fees, even if they are being cared for virtually.

It sounds ridiculous to be charged a room fee to sleep in your own bed, but hospital executives aren’t ruling it out.

And now we are seeing reports of systems charging patients for MyChart messages.

Bai is correct that systems are going find every single opportunity to charge more.

We just have to make sure they don’t have that opportunity here.

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