Eliminate Hospital Parking Fees

Reducing parking costs can assist with patient care and recovery.

What if you had to pay a fee just to get through the hos­pi­tal door, whether as a patient or fam­i­ly mem­ber?  Out­ra­geous?  Of course.  But for many patients and fam­i­lies, that’s exact­ly what hap­pens.  It comes in the form of high park­ing costs which just about every health­care facil­i­ty charges when­ev­er they can.

Hos­pi­tal park­ing is a deter­rent to the abil­i­ty of fam­i­lies to pro­vide the care and atten­tion patients need and the health­care sys­tem expects of them.  In major urban cen­ters, where park­ing fees approach $30 a day, the cost to fam­i­lies can eas­i­ly mount into hun­dreds, and even thou­sands, of dol­lars.  When harm from avoid­able med­ical errors occurs and longer stays result, hos­pi­tal bud­gets ben­e­fit from the added rev­enues.  That’s uncon­scionable.

Park­ing fees don’t always make their way back into patient care. Some­times the mon­ey just goes back into, well, park­ing and park­ing main­te­nance, build­ing upgrades and expan­sion.   Some patients and fam­i­lies have man­aged to wage a strong cam­paign to abol­ish what amounts to a tax-at-the-door on hos­pi­tal ser­vices. In Scot­land, all hos­pi­tal park­ing fees were elim­i­nat­ed through a law passed in 2008.

The Cen­ter for Patient Pro­tec­tion reg­u­lar­ly hears from patients and fam­i­lies who report how much the cost of park­ing has added to their already high lev­el of stress or has actu­al­ly deterred fam­i­lies from deliv­er­ing the bed­side sup­port a loved one needs.  We call for the even­tu­al elim­i­na­tion of park­ing fees which con­sti­tute a not-so-hidden tax on the deliv­ery of health care.  Until that occurs, we strong­ly urge that providers waive park­ing fees for patients and fam­i­lies fac­ing finan­cial hard­ship. In cas­es where harm has occurred, and longer stays have result­ed, hos­pi­tals should imme­di­ate­ly move to reim­burse fam­i­lies for their park­ing expens­es and waive any fur­ther charges.

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