HCA Cuts Costs for the Uninsured, but Medical Billing Advocates of America asks, What About All Other Payers?

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Hospital Corporation of America has announced a fee discount on “trauma activation” fees to the uninsured. However, MBAA, the nation’s leading medical billing advocacy organization, wants to know what HCA is going to do about those Americans who are under-insured, who receive small participating discounts, or who have to deal with soaring deductibles and other consequences of these alarmingly high charges.

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How will they provide relief to under-insured Americans and those who are insured but can only afford health insurance plans with very high deductibles?

On Tuesday, April 8, 2014, a press release for Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) – one of the largest for-profit hospital chains in the United States - stated they will offer a fee discount for uninsured patients, which could potentially save those patients tens of thousands of dollars. Stephen Ecenia, an attorney for HCA, stated they will provide a “100 percent” discount on “trauma activation” fees. These fees have garnered much negative attention with the media in past months, especially in the state of Florida.

News media has asked the question of whether or not this move is HCA’s way of trying to gain a positive spin from the media in the midst of a legal battle which threatens to close at least three HCA trauma centers. Several HCA trauma centers in Florida are struggling to stay open. The Senate and House of Representatives are determining how may trauma centers should be able to operate within the same area. The House of Representatives decided that any level 1 and level 2 trauma centers who have operated for at least 12 consecutive months may remain open, as long as the facility complies with regular visits from the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma.

“Trauma activation” fees can be charged when a designated trauma center who is licensed or verified by the state or local government receives pre-hospital notification of a trauma patient’s arrival from pre-hospital caregivers, such as an emergency medical technician. This fee is meant to cover the availability of specialized physicians and nurses, as well as employees from laboratory, radiology, respiratory therapy and other key departments necessary for working with the trauma case. These fees have been known to top $30 thousand at HCA hospitals.

Mrs. Palmer, founder and CEO of Medical Billing Advocates of America, is calling out Hospital Corporation of America by asking how they will provide relief to under-insured Americans and those who are insured but can only afford health insurance plans with very high deductibles.

MBAA is providing further comments on this issue: http://billadvocates.com/blog/hospital-corporation-america-announces-trauma-activation-fee-discount-uninsured/

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