Why Novant charges for MyChart messages and UNC Health doesn't

To bill or not to bill for MyChart messages? Two North Carolina health systems have different answers to that question.

Winston-Salem-based Novant Health decided to charge for the patient portal messages after an influx of them in recent years, while Chapel Hill-based UNC Health opted against it after evaluating the pros and cons, North Carolina Health News and The Charlotte Ledger reported Feb. 8.

"We believe that charging new fees wouldn't significantly reduce virtual messaging, won’t help physicians manage the requests for information more efficiently, and will likely make patients unhappy," Matthew Ewend, MD, chief clinical officer of UNC Health, emailed the news outlets.

Still, Novant has billed for less than 1 percent of its MyChart messages since the change went into effect last July, for an average charge of $10, according to the story. The fees only apply to a new healthcare complaint or a problem that hasn't been discussed recently.

Other North Carolina health systems contacted for the report — including Charlotte-based Atrium Health, Greensboro-based Cone Health, and Raleigh-based WakeMed — said they don't charge for the messages.

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