Uninsured Straining Hospital ERs

by kespeland on December 15, 2008

Emergency rooms across the country are being overwhelmed by uninsured patients who can’t afford private doctors or insurance for basic health care.   Saints Mary and Elizabeth Hospital CEO Tom Gessel says they’ve seen a steady increase in the number of uninsured patients turning to the emergency room for basic health care.  Gessel says that puts a strain on this nonprofit hospital.

“I think at a national level this is going to have to be dealt with on a much broader scale if hospitals are going to continue to be that safety net available to the communities to provide care to patients with no insurance. In the mean time, these safety net hospitals have become the de facto insurer of these uninsured patients,” says Gessel.

Gessel says about half the hospital’s patients receive Medicare.  And lower reimbursement rates are also stretching hospital resources.

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