(ABCNEWS.GO) — Talk about adding insult injury. More and more U.S. emergency rooms won’t admit patients until they pony up a fee of $100 dollars or more for nonemergencies.

The fees are meant to discourage people suffering from nothing worse, say, than a sore throat or a skinned knee from taking up time and resources better reserved for the seriously ill.

Both for-profit and non-profit hospitals are levying the charge.

Ed Fishbough, spokesman for the nation’s biggest for-profit chain, HCA Healthcare in Nashville, Tenn., says the company first started imposing such fees in 2004, at one of its Houston-area hospitals.

  • Text smaller
  • Text bigger
Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.