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If you’ve sought urgent care in Kitsap County, you could see a refund

Patients of three urgent care clinics in Kitsap County could see refunds or bill reductions after the state attorney general investigated practices at CHI Franciscan Health.

Franciscan operates three urgent care clinics in Kitsap County, which charge a facility fee that must be disclosed on the clinic website, at the clinic and in a notice to the patient before receiving care.

At issue were mislabeled charges on bills and inadequate fee disclosures at the three urgent care clinics, the Attorney General’s Office said in a news release.

The attorney general also looked into concerns that Franciscan mislabeled the facility fees as emergency room fees for three months in 2015. As a result, some patients paid more than $300 out-of-pocket that should have been covered by insurance.

The three Harrison clinic locations will now properly code bills and notify patients, a court filing from Thurston County reads.

A court filing in Thurston County listed the clinics:

▪  Port Orchard: 450 S. Kitsap Boulevard, Suite 100.

▪  Belfair: 21 NE Romance Hill Road.

▪  Bainbridge Island: 8804 Madison Ave. N.

The hospital system has promised to cease coding bills at the urgent care clinics as if the location is an emergency room. It also will provide notice of the facility fee to patients, according to the court filing.

The 2,138 patients who were improperly billed received refunds and bill reductions from CHI Franciscan Health totaling $107,294, the state Attorney General’s Office said in a press release. The hospital system also is forgiving nearly $1 million in outstanding patient debt from those three clinics starting in July 2014 through August this year.

Those patients receiving debt relief will be notified within 60 days, the attorney general’s statement reads.

In a statement, CHI Franciscan Health said it was pleased the attorney general decided to stop its investigation of the billing practice.

“The Attorney General has not found that CHI Franciscan committed any wrongdoing and CHI Franciscan denies that it was at fault or failed to notify patients of a provider facility fee,” the statement reads.

Franciscan spokesman Scott Thompson said the issue was isolated to the three clinics in Kitsap County.

Franciscan will also pay $55,000 to cover the cost of the investigation.

Kate Martin: 253-597-8542, @KateReports

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