Financial Assistance Programs Help Patients

Imagine you have an unexpected illness or accident and need immediate medical attention, but you do not have medical insurance.   Dilys Krueger, director of patient financial services at Union Hospital in Dover, finds people in this situation every day.

 

?These days more and more people find themselves with no insurance or very high deductibles, Krueger said.  ?But regardless of their ability to pay, we believe all patients are entitled to the quality of life that adequate healthcare provides.?

 

In response to this growing problem Krueger says Union Hospital is helping more patients than ever before with information about financial assistance.  In addition to helping to connect patients with Medicaid and other programs, the hospital offers interest-free payment arrangements, discounts for prompt payment, discounts for lower income families, and free care for those who qualify.

 

Through Ohio?s Hospital Care Assurance Program, Krueger says patients who fall below Federal guidelines for personal or family income may qualify for medically necessary hospital care at no charge. 

 

?Patients who do not meet the requirements of the state program and have no insurance may still be eligible for a discount on their hospital charges, even if their household income is up to 300% of the Federal poverty guideline, Krueger explained. 

 

Private and confidential counseling about hospital bills is available from the hospital?s Financial Assistance Specialist.  Suzie Ankrom of New Philadelphia meets with patients and families to discuss the payment assistance options and determine if they are eligible for Medicaid or other assistance programs. 

 

 ?Many people do not realize that these programs are available to help them,? Ankrom said.   ?We try to help not only the uninsured, but those who are under-insured or have high out-of-pocket expenses.? 

 

Earlier this year Kay Sowers of Zoarville was faced with hospitalization of a family member plus the added stress of all the medical expenses.

 

Kay Sowers (left) of Zoarville says she is grateful for the help

provided by Suzie Ankrom (right) of New Philadelphia,

a financial assistance specialist at Union Hospital.

 

?I didn?t know how I could manage all the bills that would be coming,? Sowers said.  ?Suzie and the hospital were wonderful.  She really helped take the pressure off me and helped me get through it all.?

 

Ankrom says some of the programs she can help patients take advantage of include Medicaid, Healthy Start, Rx for Ohio, Cover the Uninsured (www. covertheuninsured.org), and the Ohio Breast and Cervical Cancer Project. 

 

Krueger stresses that the hospital is working harder than ever before to help patient and families deal with the cost of healthcare and reduce the anxiety and frustration many experience.

 

?It is very important for people to keep the lines of communication open.  If they get a bill they don?t understand, we are the contact people,? Krueger said.  ?Suzie Ankrom and the rest of our staff specialize in customer service, can answer questions and try to offer people reassurance about their situation.? 

 

Krueger invites those with questions about the options for paying their hospital charges to call Union Hospital?s Patient Financial Services office at (330) 364-0847 for assistance.

 

 August 2009

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