Area Hospitals Aren't Turning Patients Away - And Response (2)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

In regards to Erlanger’s new COO stating other hospitals turning patients away when they cannot pay, I am a nurse and I have worked at all three acute care hospitals in Chattanooga and I have never seen any of these facilities turn any patient away due to the fact of being “private pay.” 

Also, I have seen the hospital business office representative work with the patient and family with payment options on the hospital bill.  

Also, these hospitals accept Medicare reimbursement which means they are required to provide emergency treatment under EMTALA which helps prevent patient dumping in the first place. 

EMTALA is a federal law. I think when a COO of a large business makes a statement such as this, he should be able to back it up with facts. I would like to know where he got his facts from.

Melissa Lewis, RN 

* * * 

Contrary to Ms. Lewis’ assertions that patient dumping does not occur in Chattanooga, all she has to do is read front page headlines appearing less than a year ago in which a local non-profit hospital was under federal scrutiny for violating the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act – not once, but twice.  For violations classified as “immediate jeopardy” – the most severe of EMTALA violations.    

On both occasions, patients were “transferred” to Erlanger.  And investigators, working on behalf of the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, warned that “the deficiencies are so serious that they constitute an immediate threat to the health and safety of any individual who comes to your hospital with an emergency medical condition.” 

In addition to what has been publicly reported, my wife and I personally witnessed an incident in another ER in which an uninsured patient was stabilized, then quickly transported to Erlanger for “more detailed” testing and admission. 

While EMTALA laws are in place to help prevent patient dumping, it is naïve to assume this doesn’t happen in Chattanooga.  Particularly to Erlanger - the hospital where I work – now on track to provide more than $92 million in uncompensated care to local residents this year.   Coincidence?  I don’t think so.    

Mickey Milita
Apison 

* * * 

I have worked in EMS for 20 + years in the Chattanooga area and yes all of the private run hospitals in a 100 mile radius dump on Erlanger. 

All hospital emergency rooms are required by law to stabilize a patient's emergency condition after that they can transfer to another hospital for continued care. 

I have transported patients from all the local hospital emergency rooms to Erlanger simply because of no insurance.  

Erlanger Hospital's indigent care cost is nearing $100 million for this budget year, show me another hospital in the area that has that size of lose due to indigent/self pay care.  Erlanger turns no one away for medical/trauma care and receives little to none support from Hamilton County. 

David Poteet, EMT-P


A Haven For Small Business Owners

With the latest incentive recently announced by the City of Chattanooga, the community is becoming a haven for small business owners and entrepreneurs.     The small business incentive program is a win-win for both business owners, while at the same time promoting an incentive for hiring full time employees. We all know that small businesses represent the primary ... (click for more)

Is A Hotel In The Arts District A Good Idea? - And Response

This design certainly looks somewhat better than what was presented before on the new hotel by the Walnut Street Bridge, and I can understand why the developer would want that site. But I just question whether a commercial entity such as a hotel in a residential and arts district is the best option. John Fricke * * * Bluff View Inn anyone?  I am really not a fan ... (click for more)

Sewell Says City, EPB "Close" On Amount Owed By Utility To City On Street Light Overbilling

City Internal Auditor Stan Sewell told City Council members on Tuesday that EPB and the city are "close" on the amount owed by the utility to the city on street light overbilling. Mr. Sewell said the city computed the amount at about $1.2 million, while he said EPB's auditing firm, Mauldin and Jenkins, has it at $1.5 million for an 89-month period that was audited. Mr. Sewell ... (click for more)

City Council Votes 5-4 On New Process For Naming IDB Members

The City Council voted Tuesday night 5-4 to set up a new process for naming members to the Industrial Development Board (IDB), which currently has four vacancies. The process includes three City Council panels: A (Districts 1, 2, 3), B (Districts 4, 5, 6), and C (Districts 7, 8, 9). Group A will fill two of the vacancies and Groups B and C one each. Agreement ... (click for more)

Baylor Ends Big Week With Win Over GPS

The Baylor volleyball team probably doesn't get many days off during the week in midseason, but they earned a day off on Tuesday following a long and successful stretch in the last eight days. The Lady Red Raiders, won 10 of 11 matches in the last eight days, including a big win over arch-rival GPS on the road Monday night.  As a result, coach Sarah Lail urged her girls ... (click for more)

UTC's Hudson Named Special Teams Player Of The Week

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior Tommy Hudson is the Southern Conference Special Teams Player of the Week, the league office announced today.  Hudson scored twice in the Mocs 42-6 win at Austin Peay on Saturday .  Hudson returned three punts for 65 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown in the third quarter.  That added to his 33-yard receiving ... (click for more)