Local hospitals work together to cut down ER costs - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local hospitals work together to cut down ER costs

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PASCO, Wash. -- The three hospitals in the Tri-Cities are working together for a common goal, to reduce costly emergency room visits.  Dr. Todd Lang, who is the Medical Director at the Lourdes Emergency Department says  the appeal for ER's is obvious,  a lot of people don't have regular doctors , they don't have insurance and people know hospitals can't turn you away by law.

"Emergency rooms everywhere deliver what we call a great deal of un reimbursed or uncompensated care and that's people who either don't have any means to pay for health care or chose not to pay for it.," says Lang.

The Emergency Department Director at Kennewick General Hospital, Connie Pitts says, "it is what drives up the cost for insurance..especially for those of us who do have medical insurance. It is driving up our costs also."

The ER Director at Lourdes, Janet Hanna says they are working on educating the public.  "We are doing PSA announcements on the radio and on television.  We are having one-on-one conversations with our patients when they're in our emergency departments. If they have questions with follow up we try to help them get linked with primary care provider or clinic where they can get follow up care."

That's the direction all three hospitals are working towards to educate the public. about what to do instead.and that's why there is a Health Access Team.  A team of  20 members, representing all the local hospitals, big insurance companies and our local health department.  They meet once a month and try to spread the word.

Here are the amount Lourdes, KGH, and Kadlec have lost in the Tri-Cities due to Charity & Bad Debt over a span of three years.
                                2008                     2009                  2010
LHN                     $ 9,748,682.00  $ 10,712,940.00  $ 13,250,602.00 
KRMC                  $ 17,461,538.00  $ 20,471,866.00  $ 27,263,966.00 
KGH                      $ 8,323,808.00  $ 10,472,261.00  $ 11,485,819.00 
Totals                   $ 35,534,028.00  $ 41,657,067.00  $ 52,000,387.00