(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.
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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.