Sunday, July 27, 2008

All hospitals have to pull their weight on uncompensated care

Tim Walters filed this op-ed piece Saturday in the Cleveland Plain Dealer: All hospitals have to pull their weight on uncompensated care. Seems MetroHealth, the nationally recognized public hospital in town, is in perilous financial condition. It is the largest provider of uncompensated health care in the state of Ohio, and if it goes under, Walters wonders what will happen to indigent patients whose medical home is MetroHealth, not to mention everyone in the community who relies on MetroHealth's unique capabilities (the area's only Level I trauma unit, trauma burn care, etc.).

Walters' answer: Before this happens, how about all the hospitals in the area stepping up to the line and shouldering their fair share of charity care? Of course, hospitals with emergency departments have their EMTALA obligation to screen and to stabilize, but the lion's share of ED admissions and nonemergency charity care is coming from MetroHealth, not University Hospitals (can you spot the ED -- or the maze you have to solve -- on their interactive map?) or the Cleveland Clinic (same question).
posted by Tom Mayo, 9:08 AM

Health care law (including public health law, medical ethics, and life sciences), with digressions into constitutional law, poetry, and other things that matter