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Archive for Thursday, October 22, 2009

Charity care on the rise at LMH

October 22, 2009

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Lawrence Memorial Hospital leaders are concerned about a significant increase in charity care.

Simon Scholtz, chief financial officer, said the hospital spent $2.9 million during the past three months on charity care, which is more than the $2.8 million it spent during the first six months.

Charity care is free health care for those who truly can’t afford to pay their bills.

The type of free health care that the hospital provides runs the gamut, which includes laboratory tests, surgeries or oncology care.

Often, those who qualify for the financial assistance are referred by Health Care Access, a health care clinic for uninsured Douglas County residents, or through the emergency room.

With the economic downturn, hospital leaders projected an increase in charity care this year and budgeted $8 million, a 19 percent increase over 2008. But the recent surge in charity care was not expected.

“It appears to be a combination of the number of patients who have applied for financial assistance as well as the magnitude of the bills,” Scholtz said. “There have been several very large balances that have been written off in the last few months. There have been some very sick people.”

To qualify for assistance, people must meet Federal Income Poverty Guidelines. For example, a family of four with income of $31,800, or 150 percent of the FIPG, would be eligible for a 50 percent discount off their hospital bill.

If income is above 200 percent, LMH offers all patients a payment plan option with no interest added, which allows patients to make monthly payments on their bills.

Also, LMH recognizes that bills at times can be catastrophic, and if a patient’s bill is more than half their annual income, discounts may be applicable for up to 90 percent of their bill.

Scholtz said some of these patients may end up qualifying for government assistance, but there is a backlog for Medicaid applications. In that case, the hospital may or may not be reimbursed for their care. Otherwise, LMH doesn’t receive a reimbursement.

“It is all done as part of our community benefit obligation,” he said.

Scholtz, who has worked at LMH for 10 years, said he hasn’t seen a sustained increase like this before. He said there have been months when the totals were high, but not for three consecutive months.

“It will impact our budget for next year,” he said. “We will be budgeting for an increase.”

The nonprofit hospital ended 2008 with operating income of $8 million. Through September, it has had operating income of $8.9 million, up 31 percent from the $6.8 million budgeted for 2009.

Comments

Flap Doodle 5 years, 1 month ago

Wow, all those billions in stimulus money from the government are really paying off, aren't they? Dear Leader is doing a heck of a job!

Glenda LaRue 5 years, 1 month ago

Poor LMH. They can use the almost $11,000.oo they did for a supposed stint for (my heart) which I did"nt need.

emptymind 5 years, 1 month ago

Poor LMH, they dont' 'lose' money, they find o'other' areas to make up any loss. What would happen if they had any competition? They would focus more on patient care and not properties to pave. "They paved Paradise, and put up a parking lot"

cellogrl 5 years, 1 month ago

Oldenoughbutno2, it would seem that if you didn't need it, you could've told them NO to putting the stint in. Not their fault. And it also seems that doctors don't just put things in people's hearts for fun. Too much risk to them.

LadyJ 5 years, 1 month ago

Those numbers are the inflated charges they charge before the insurance companies write off 2/3 of the bill. Charge people the same amount Blue Cross gets charged and maybe people would attempt to pay it. I don't think it's fair that someone without insurance has to pay $1000 for something BCBS only gets charges three or four hundred for.

50YearResident 5 years, 1 month ago

How many of "Henderson's Hundreds" have contributed to this problem?

ksgirltoo 5 years, 1 month ago

Patients with Insurance also pay a monthly premium so that is why the insurance company is able to pay an adjusted rate. The patient pays less but has paid a monthly premium to be allowed that savings.

redmoonrising 5 years, 1 month ago

I'd be upset too if the doctor put a stint in my heart, especially if it was a small sandpiper. However, if he put a stent in, I would be grateful to have that artery held open by it.

Randall Barnes 5 years, 1 month ago

GET REAL PEOPLE, SOME OF THE PEOPLE DONT NEED THE HELP CAUSE THEY CHOOSE NOT TO WORK, ME ON THE OTHER HAND LOST MY JOB NOT BY CHOICE,AM LOOKING EVERYDAY AND SENDING ATLEAST 20 RESUMES A WEEK ACROSS THE COUNTRY, I HAVE NO HEALTH INSURANCE AND IF I HAVE A TRUE EMERGENCY I WILL GO, BUT FOR A SORE THROAT OR A PULLED MUSSCLE I DONT THINK SO.

Glenda LaRue 5 years, 1 month ago

FYI to all..I unfortunatly could not see inside my arteries..But with tests and all day xrays was advised they were More than likely blocked.Which they were not!So my medicare and medigap paid well over $11,000.00.So now you wonder where the money is spent? And my daughter had same procedure done,which she did"nt need either! And I would not wish the same on anyone!So between the two (she had hers done first) I thought it was a fluke..Hmmmm

wagonburner23 5 years, 1 month ago

oldenough You should of asked for a second opinion. You were supposed to read your rights they offered you. LMFAO

rbwaa 5 years, 1 month ago

oldenoughbutno2 (Anonymous) says…

FYI to all..I unfortunatly could not see inside my arteries..But with tests and all day xrays was advised they were More than likely blocked.

how do you know they weren't blocked?

nosympathy 5 years, 1 month ago

How fortunate Lawrence is to have a hospital and how unfortunate Lawrence is to have people that don't appreciate this fact. On top of all this there are always some who want others to take responsibility for their medical care financially and medically and if this care does not turn out the way they want they blame any one but themselves. Come on people be proactive about your life. It's yours assume responsibility for your life.

ifuonlyknew 5 years, 1 month ago

My bills from LMH are outrageous. I had to go to the ER for horrible side-cramping pains on two occasions where I thought someone was stabbing me in my side. The first time they couldn't find anything, and sent me home. The second time, which keep in mind was 2 months later, they decided to take out my appendix because they thought I had appendicitis. Come to find out nothing was wrong with my appendix and they don't know the cause of my pain. Now I have $20,000 in hospital bills and I barley make that a year. I applied for financial assistance, and have not got any information back on it. When I call they keep telling me I should get something in the mail. I don't know what to do next. Plus they are rude when I call, and send me nasty collection letters when I'm trying to get assitance in paying for this. I swear they think I can just pull this money outta nowhere sometimes...

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