A syringe is loaded with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

A syringe is loaded with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Credit: AP/Jonathan Hayward

Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care has agreed to refund almost $15,000 — and pay $25,000 in penalties — after more than 700 patients were wrongly charged for COVID-19 vaccines, New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced Monday.

In a statement, James said that due to “administrative errors” 731 patients at Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care centers were charged approximately $28 per vaccine dose. And 451 patients or their guarantors made out-of-pocket payments for charges they should not have billed for, the attorney general's office said.

The attorney general's office said unpaid accounts associated with 72 vaccine doses were also wrongfully sent to collections in violation of the law.

Under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Provider Agreement regarding COVID-19 vaccine distribution, in effect until Sept. 12, 2023, the attorney general’s office said providers such as Northwell Health-GoHealth, which operates 57 urgent care clinics in New York, were “required to administer COVID-19 vaccines at no out-of-pocket cost to the patient.”

Under the agreement, Northwell Health-GoHealth will refund $14,996.05 to patients and guarantors who were improperly charged for administered vaccine doses. James said all consumers impacted will be notified of the refund or of the wrongful charge.

As part of the agreement, the attorney general’s office said the clinics have agreed to tighten billing practices “to ensure that future COVID-19 vaccine appointments” at the clinics “do not result in improper charges to patients.”

“During the pandemic state of emergency, COVID-19 vaccines were free to all who wanted them,” James said in a statement Monday, adding: “Clinics should be careful in ensuring that New Yorkers were not improperly charged fees for these vaccines and should take steps to refund any payments wrongfully charged and received.”

In a statement, Vivek Taparia, regional president of Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care, said the organization “is proud of the patient care we provided during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the vaccination clinics we opened at several of our urgent care locations. While we provided COVID vaccinations without any out-of-pocket charges to patients, a small number of these early vaccine recipients inadvertently received statements or made payments. Northwell-GoHealth refunded all affected patient accounts and has cooperated with the New York State Attorney General throughout this matter. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused our patients.”

Anyone who believes they were improperly charged for being administered a COVID-19 vaccine is being asked to submit a claim to the office of the attorney general's Health Care Bureau — or call 800-428-9071 to submit a complaint.

Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care has agreed to refund almost $15,000 — and pay $25,000 in penalties — after more than 700 patients were wrongly charged for COVID-19 vaccines, New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced Monday.

In a statement, James said that due to “administrative errors” 731 patients at Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care centers were charged approximately $28 per vaccine dose. And 451 patients or their guarantors made out-of-pocket payments for charges they should not have billed for, the attorney general's office said.

The attorney general's office said unpaid accounts associated with 72 vaccine doses were also wrongfully sent to collections in violation of the law.

Under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Provider Agreement regarding COVID-19 vaccine distribution, in effect until Sept. 12, 2023, the attorney general’s office said providers such as Northwell Health-GoHealth, which operates 57 urgent care clinics in New York, were “required to administer COVID-19 vaccines at no out-of-pocket cost to the patient.”

Under the agreement, Northwell Health-GoHealth will refund $14,996.05 to patients and guarantors who were improperly charged for administered vaccine doses. James said all consumers impacted will be notified of the refund or of the wrongful charge.

As part of the agreement, the attorney general’s office said the clinics have agreed to tighten billing practices “to ensure that future COVID-19 vaccine appointments” at the clinics “do not result in improper charges to patients.”

“During the pandemic state of emergency, COVID-19 vaccines were free to all who wanted them,” James said in a statement Monday, adding: “Clinics should be careful in ensuring that New Yorkers were not improperly charged fees for these vaccines and should take steps to refund any payments wrongfully charged and received.”

In a statement, Vivek Taparia, regional president of Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care, said the organization “is proud of the patient care we provided during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the vaccination clinics we opened at several of our urgent care locations. While we provided COVID vaccinations without any out-of-pocket charges to patients, a small number of these early vaccine recipients inadvertently received statements or made payments. Northwell-GoHealth refunded all affected patient accounts and has cooperated with the New York State Attorney General throughout this matter. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused our patients.”

Anyone who believes they were improperly charged for being administered a COVID-19 vaccine is being asked to submit a claim to the office of the attorney general's Health Care Bureau — or call 800-428-9071 to submit a complaint.

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