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


An Alternative To Economic Development

If local and state politicians are truly interested in improving the lives of the poor they should take a look at the recent study by Steven Horwitz of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Breaking Down the Barriers:  Three Ways State and Local Governments Can Improve the Lives of the Poor.  The study takes a look at the regressive effects of occupational ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden In August 2015

Those in the know tell me the month of August is National Peach Month, so as I take a stroll through garden, I am paying particular attention to the poppy and the gladiolus because they are the “birth flowers" of this month. But as we dole out our months Orchids and Onions, let’s substitute a peach and a pit, that hard seed you find when you bite into a peach. A PEACH to the ... (click for more)

Abdulazeez Apparently Went Target Shooting In River Gorge Area Prior To Rampage That Killed 5

A 24-year-old Hixson man who went on a rampage and killed five military personnel at Chattanooga apparently went target shooting in the Tennessee River Gorge area just beforehand. A Chattanoogan said he was canoeing the day before the shooting and heard Mohammad Abdulazeez shooting in the woods in a remote area. The man, who said he thought he was being shot at, looked ... (click for more)

Columnist Says Navy To Bring Charges Against Commander Of Chattanooga Naval Center Who Fired At Shooter

The Navy plans to bring charges against Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White, who fired shots at a Hixson man who on July 16 rammed through a gate at the facility on Amnicola Highway and killed four Marines and a sailor, columnist Allen West wrote. He said he received a text message confirming the charges are imminent against the Chattanoogan, who is the father of six and who has acknowledged ... (click for more)

CFC Returns To National Championship With 3-0 Semifinal Win

The Chattanooga Football Club didn't score until the 69th minute but after Chris Ochieng's first goal, they would score two more to earn a 3-0 win over visiting Indiana Fire.   The NPSL national semifinal win, before more than 9,200 fans, gives Chattanooga another shot at a national championship after losing to the New York Red Bulls U23 team in the 2014 final.   ... (click for more)

PHOTOS: Chattanooga FC Shuts Out Indiana By 3-Nil