New ED drama? Hospitals demand upfront fee for nonemergencies

Physicians who take after-hours calls from patients often face a difficult decision: Which symptoms can wait for an office visit, and which ones require a trip to the emergency department? Now doctors find these decisions complicated by a troubling, rising trend: Will a trip to the ED mean an upfront charge for a patient if the problem is deemed nonemergent?

My latest front-page story. Read the whole-shebang.