Safety-net hospitals charging non-resident uninsured for some ED services

If a patient comes from outside their service area, some safety-net hospitals in Cleveland and Atlanta now charge them a fee for non-emergency services, according to new reports from HealthLeaders-InterStudy.

For example, Atlanta's Grady Health System began charging fees for non-emergency visits by patients living outside of the two Georgia counties providing financial support to the hospital. Patients living outside of Fulton and DeKalb counties pay for non-emergency care on a sliding scale based on income.

Another example is Cleveland's MetroHealth Medical Center, which is owned by Cuyahoga County in Ohio. The facility has implemented a $150 charge for uninsured patients living outside of that county. It also plans to begin charging point-of-service fees to uninsured patients in an effort to push patients out of the emergency department and into its primary care practices.

HealthLeaders analysts, however, predict that such fees will drive residents to regional free clinics, something that they've already seen happening in Cleveland.

To learn more about this strategy:
- read this Healthcare Finance News piece

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Study: Some safety-net hospitals putting income over mission
Budget cuts affect two MA safety-net hospitals
Study: Care at safety net hospitals lagging

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