Daywatch: More health systems charging for online patient portal messages

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Good morning, Chicago.

Patients who ask for their doctors’ help through online portals might soon notice something new: fees for their physicians’ online advice.

A growing number of health systems in the Chicago area and across the country are now charging for some types of messages sent through online patient portals, such as MyChart, with fees often around $35 or less. It’s a trend that’s sparking mixed reactions, with some saying it seems only fair, while others see it as a cash grab.

Health system leaders say most messages remain free, and they’re only billing for questions that require more than a few minutes of a doctor’s time and that, in the past, would likely have merited an in-person visit.

Read the full story from the Tribune’s Lisa Schencker.

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