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Why are the fees at the New Hanover Community Health Center so high?

Vicky Eckenrode
StarNews

Althea Johnson, deputy director of the New Hanover Community Health Center, said the mission of the private, not-for-profit center was to provide health care services for people and families with incomes at or below 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines. The center offers services based on a sliding scale, based on a person’s household income.

She said the center uses the regional results of a commercial National Fee Analyzer in the process to determine fees.

“Each office visit is coded by Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) based on the level and complexity of the visit,” Johnson said. “In order to actually compare fees, the exact codes would have to be compared (apples to apples). Our fees may be different from other area health care providers that primarily provide services for patients with health insurance.”

Johnson said that in 2009, the center provided medical and dental services for more than 3,000 people who did not have health insurance.

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