New fees for Mayo Clinic patients

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(ABC 6 News) – A policy change at Mayo Clinic could start costing patients money. The change involves any patient who uses Mayo’s online patient portal.

If you’re a Mayo Clinic patient, you are given access to Mayo’s online patient portal. It tracks appointments, keeps track of your prescriptions, and gives you a chance to message your doctors. But those messages could start costing you money.

“I think it’s too much for them to being doing that,” said Mayo Clinic patient Pedro Molina III.

And people we talked with aren’t too thrilled about it.

“I’m outraged about that idea,” said Mayo Clinic patient Johnathan Hartley.

If you use Mayo Clinic’s online patient portal, you could soon be charged when message your doctor. But Mayo is stressing its very particular situations where patients will be billed.

“To qualify for billing, the message must be patient-initiated and require a clinical decision that would otherwise have been provided through an in-person or virtual office visit,” said Dr. Conor Loftus, Mayo Clinic Outpatient Practice Subcommittee Chair.

So, something like asking about a prescription won’t start costing you money. In fact, Mayo Clinic says only a very small portion of patients using the portal will be charged. They’ll be notified ahead of time and no charge will exceed $50.

“I think that it’s not right for the people who can’t live fortunately like the ones on retirement and disability,” said Molina III.

Mayo says it’s making the change because people are changing the way they access their healthcare. A growing number of people are opting for virtual visits instead of seeing doctors in person.

Something other patients we talked with seem to understand. While it is about healthcare it’s also a business.

“I don’t think anything is wrong with that. I mean they are working. They gotta get paid right,” said Mayo Clinic patient Angelo Butera.

The new changes will go into effect Friday, August 18th.