Departments & Programs,UW Hospital and Clinics

Patient Business Services

Patient Business Services - Departments & Programs, UW Hospital and Clinics

The UWHC Patient Business Services department organizes and maintains the patient billing processes. Through excellent customer service and detailed reporting, Patient Business Services guides patients through their bills while ensuring the financial integrity of UWHC.


How much is my visit going to cost?

It can be hard to know ahead of time exactly how much you’ll be charged for a visit. Charges are based
on such things as time spent with the clinician, services ordered, diagnoses associated with those
services, and supplies that are used. To help our patients, UW Health offers an estimate service called
Priceline. You may call the UW Health Priceline at (608) 263-1507 and ask for a price estimate for procedures, tests and any other related fees. While we try to give our patients the most accurate information, the estimate may be higher or lower than the actual charges.

What is a Facility Fee and what does it cover?

Facility fees represent all the costs of operating a building for health care delivery except the doctors’
professional fees. They cover the costs of equipment, utilities, maintenance, supplies and medications
administered during a clinic visit. They also pay for care by non‐physician staff such as nurses,
pharmacists, social workers, medical assistants, respiratory therapists, and dieticians.
Because hospital‐owned (UW Hospital and Clinics) clinics are required to meet strict patient safety
standards and more regulatory requirements than physician‐owned practices, facility fees also help to
offset the cost of meeting these mandated requirements.

Finally, fees also reflect some of the cost of training of physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other health
care professionals.

Why is a Facility Fee charged at UWHC clinics but not at UWMF clinics? Aren’t you all part of UW Health?

When clinics are doctor‐owned and operated, they are able to charge patients a single fee that includes
all the costs associated with running their practice. When clinics are hospital‐owned, there must be two
separate bills, one from the medical group for the doctor’s professional fees and the other from the
hospital for all other costs. This second bill is referred to as the “facility fee.”

UWHC Clinics include West and East Clinics, University Station, Research Park, all UW Hospital‐based
clinics at 600 Highland Ave., Middleton Rehabilitation Clinic (for physician care only, not therapy), and
Oakwood Clinic. The Hospital‐owned clinics at Princeton Club East and West offer physical therapy only
and therefore do not charge facility fees.

UW Health clinics that are owned by UW Health physician groups ‐‐ UW Medical Foundation and the
UW Department of Family Medicine – do not charge a facility fee.

Will the Facility Fee always be the same amount?

Facility Fees vary depending on how much time patients spend with their caregiver(s) and how much
equipment is involved in their care. Fees can be higher at specialty clinics such as otolaryngology,
ophthalmology, where specialized equipment and services can be more costly.

How is the Hospital telling its patients about Facility Fees?

There are signs in all registration areas at clinics where Facility Fees are charged. This information is
also contained in a brochure about our billing practices, which is included in a packet given to all new
patients. Staff in our billing office is available to answer patient questions, and we are providing
registration and other clinic staff with similar information that can be given to patients to help explain
these fees.

How do I know if my insurance company will cover the Facility Fee?

Most insurers do cover facility fees, but some do not. Before your visit, take the time to call the
customer service number listed on your insurance card to find out if your plan covers facility fees billed
by hospital‐owned clinics.

Why are two services billed during my physical?

A physical (also called a “preventive medicine visit”) is a medical exam geared for the age and gender of
the patient. It includes services to prevent or screen for illness, such as immunizations and health
assessment. A preventive medicine exam does not include assessment of a new or existing condition.
When a new or existing condition is identified and addressed during a preventive medicine visit,
industry billing guidelines require that a separate office visit be billed.

Does this mean I will have to pay for two visits or services for the same date?

Yes, however, while you are billed for both services, your charges for each are reduced so that the total
amount billed is the same. The fee for the physical exam is reduced by the amount of the office visit.
However, if the office visit fee is more than the physical fee, the physical is not charged. This pricing
method was set up by Medicare. Because Medicare does not normally cover a preventive service visit,
this pricing method reduces the out‐of‐pocket cost of the preventive service visit for Medicare patients.
Even though only Medicare requires this pricing method, UW Health Physicians extends this savings to
all patients.

Will my insurance cover the charges for two visits or services?

We suggest you ask your insurer whether your policy covers these services before you come to your
physical. Even if both the office visit and physical are covered by your insurance, you may have out‐ofpocket
costs for co‐pays, coinsurance, or deductibles. Please know that our pricing policy is intended to
limit your out‐of‐pocket expense when both services are provided during the same visit.

I have new insurance. How will I know what my benefits will be next year?

Because of variation among insurance plans, you should get this information directly from your health
insurance company, which is required to provide this information to you. Check your insurance card for
the appropriate number to call.

How do I figure out how much to put into my flex spending account for next year?

Usually the best way to determine how much to contribute is to make a list of expected out‐of‐pocket
medical expenses for you and your dependents for the next year and compare it to your benefits for
next year. You also have the option of contacting your insurance company for last year’s records or
asking all your healthcare providers for a statement(s) of past charges to review against your benefits
for the upcoming year. Most flex plans have administrators that can assist with this process.




PPIC Information

Price Estimates


Patient Business Services (UWMF)