||Hospital Board Votes to Offer Discount Program to Uninsured
Daviess Community Hospital’s Board of Governors met October 28 and voted to offer a discount program for uninsured patients. The discount applies to hospital services received on or after November 1, 2004 by patients without insurance.
Until February of this year, the practice of hospital’s granting discounts was limited due to federal anti-kickback laws and Medicare rules. “In February, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson issued a ruling in response to the American Hospital Association’s calls for clarification,” said Jim Heckert, CEO. “The ruling lifted the barriers created by the federal rules, so that hospitals could discount bills for services to uninsured patients without breaking the law.”
Hospitals nationally face a growing number of uninsured. While some uninsured patients are able to pay for services they need, many are not. “We have policies in place to provide financial assistance to those who cannot pay for part or all of the care they receive,” said Heckert. “Those policies and the new discount program are consistent with our mission and values. They are the right and fair thing to do, and are good for our community.”
In other business, the Board voted to purchase capital equipment and fund projects totaling over $250,000. Included in the purchases are a sterilizer and warming cabinets for surgery, telemetry equipment for the 2-north and acute rehabilitation units, and computer equipment for the North Daviess Medical Clinic. A project to renovate the 1978 addition elevators for the inpatient tower was also approved.
Hospital officials say all the purchases will enhance patient care. “With the additional telemetry units, we will move one step closer to offering this vital monitoring on every nursing unit,” said Fran Stoll, Chief Nursing Officer. “That will help us provide it without asking patients to change rooms.”
Telemetry is a sophisticated wireless equipment system that transmits patient measurement data, such as pulse and respiration rates. It also is used for patients who are at risk of abnormal heart activity. An alerting function can summon nurses if an acute or dangerous condition is present.
The most costly purchase approved by the Board was the elevator renovation project that is expected to total nearly $150,000. “Those two elevators serve our busiest inpatient units and have been in service for over 25 years,” said Heckert. “This renovation will update them and provide for better access to our patient care units.”
Finally, the Board authorized a $100,000 incentive payment be distributed to eligible hospital employees in December. The payment is a reward for work by the staff in meeting a facility wide goal of achieving an overall patient satisfaction score above 90 during 2004. The Board noted that the overall satisfaction score is 91.6 for the year and that DCH recently received two national awards for patient satisfaction including one for the hospital’s best overall patient survey scores and a second for consistently exceeding patient expectations.