Clarifying the hospital’s stand on political issues and finding the right payment plan
One of the best parts of my job is knowing that we are making a positive impact on the health and quality of life in the community along with working with so many dedicated healthcare professionals. Advocating for those who need healthcare is imperative to the mission of the hospital. This week I want to address two important questions.
Community members often ask the hospital to support or oppose political views on local growth, healthcare reform and other issues. What are the political views of the hospital on topics that have an impact on healthcare or community issues?
I often say that I’m “Switzerland,” and what I mean is that I am neutral on political issues when it comes to speaking for the hospital. That is because SNMH, as a not-for-profit organization, provides healthcare for all, regardless of their political views. In addition the hospital, as a member of Catholic Healthcare West, advocates for our mission of providing high-quality and cost-effective healthcare on the local state and national levels.
I do understand and appreciate all the worthwhile causes that community groups would like the hospital to support, however, in order for the hospital to serve the entire community, I will continue to remain neutral about all political opinions.
With respect to the recent healthcare reform law The Affordable Care Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by the president in March 2010, SNMH participates in advocacy at the CHW system level.
My husband is scheduled for surgery at the hospital and I am trying to sort out the costs that we will be responsible for versus what our insurance plan will cover. If we do have an out-of-pocket balance that is not covered does the hospital have a way to work with us on the balance?
We have many ways to help patients with their bills, payment plans and billing questions. First, we have a fabulous financial counseling staff that is available to help patients navigate through the sometimes confusing options and programs. They may be reached at (530) 274-6284.
In addition, we help our patients plan for their healthcare expenses with the “estimator tool” – this tool has all major insurance contract information and is used to provide an estimate of costs and charges based on what the patient’s insurance contract, benefit package and deductibles will likely be. The “Preteam” is ready and able to create these estimates for patients during regular business hours at (530) 274-6758.
Other services include a 25 percent uninsured discount for any patient that is uninsured or chooses to not use their insurance. (This is automatic and reflected on the patient’s first bill). There are payment plans that range from two to 30 months without interest that may be set up at the time of service or with a phone representative.
There are also payment assistance programs that not only help patients confirm if they may be eligible for a state or county plan but offers significant discounts for the income qualified.
When patients come to the emergency room, it is important to have them to be seen by a doctor as quickly as possible. To assure excellent and timely care of our patients, SNMH collects co-pays and deductibles at the end of their emergency department visit.
We continue to work on better ways to help our community make sure they receive the care they need, we are looking forward to offering a prompt pay discount for any services paid in-full at the time of service this should be ready in the next 60 days.
To submit your question log onto http://www.snmh.org and click on “submit a question to Katherine Medeiros,” CEO, or mail to SNMH, P.O. Box 1029, Grass Valley, CA 95945, Attn. Ask the CEO.
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