Area hospitals pitch in after another hospital reduces dialysis care

Three Florida healthcare institutions have joined forces to provide $100,000 in emergency dialysis care to patients impacted by a fourth area hospital's drastic cuts.

The UM Hospital, Baptist Health South Florida and Mercy Hospital said they pay to provide care to about 40 dialysis patients who have lost their support from nearby Jackson Health System, the Miami Herald reports.

"This temporary solution allows us to meet the medical needs of those patients who are already in a fragile clinical condition. We are seeking information on ways to address the patients long term needs and ways to address the Jackson decision," Mercy Chief Executive John C. Johnson told the newspaper.

Jackson, a financially strapped public hospital system, recently stopped paying for about 175 kidney dialysis for the indigent. That leaves Miami emergency rooms vulnerable to costly care, since treatment in ERs is more expensive than dialysis care provided in a clinic. Patients with end-stage renal disease could come to an ER multiple times a week to seek treatment.

The situation at Jackson is similar to one at Atlanta's Grady Memorial Hospital, which closed its outpatient dialysis clinic in early October to curb costs. Grady, however, operated its own dialysis unit, whereas Jackson paid private clinics to perform the service for patients, costing it roughly $4 million annually, New York Times reports.

To learn more:
- read the Miama Herald article
- read the full New York Times article
- learn more about Grady Memorial's dialysis issues