Hospitals may give free care to some Colo. theater shooting victims

Several hospitals are giving some free care to or forgiving the bills of the victims of the Colorado theater shooting.

The Associated Press: No Medical Bills For Some Colo. Shooting Victims
Some of the victims fighting for their lives after being wounded in the movie-theater shooting rampage may face another challenge when they get out of the hospital: enormous medical bills without the benefit of health insurance. Members of the public, along with Warner Bros., the studio that released the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises," have contributed nearly $2 million to help victims, though it's not clear how much of that will cover medical expenses. One family is raising money on its own online. And three of the five hospitals treating victims said Wednesday they will limit or completely wipe out medical bills (Slevin and Wyatt, 7/25).

Denver Post: Children's Hospital To Give Free Care To Aurora Theater Shooting Victims
Children's Hospital said Wednesday that it will forgive the unpaid medical bills for those they treated in the Aurora shooting -- including co-pays and deductible-related expenses for those with health insurance. Two adults remain hospitalized there, and three have been released. Children's treated five people, and one patient died (Sherry, 7/26).

In the meantime officials continue or launch investigations of hospital practices in Texas and Massachusetts --

The Dallas Morning News: Monitors Say Parkland Hospitals Lags Behind In Meeting Patient-Safety Mandates
In the month of June alone, safety monitors observed 756 instances in which Parkland Memorial Hospital staff violated infection-control standards by failing to use proper hand hygiene. The monitors also found that "critical vacancies" remain in the troubled psychiatric department, including permanent physicians to oversee mental-health patients seeking emergency care. … Those are among several troubling signs in a June report card for the Dallas public hospital as it enters a critical stretch of its regulatory probation. By the end of September, the federal government expects to see evidence that all 400 mandates designed to rid the hospital of dangers to patients are met (Moffeit, 7/25).

Boston Globe: Federal Agency Investigating Exeter Hospital
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is investigating the infection control procedures at a New Hampshire hospital where, federal prosecutors say, a worker caused an outbreak of hepatitis C. David Kwiatkowski, a former medical technician at Exeter Hospital, was arrested last week and ­accused of infecting at least 30 patients with hepatitis C by stealing a powerful anesthetic prepared for use on patients and replacing it with dirty syringes (Conaboy, 7/25).

Florida hospital quality is examined by Medicare, California legislators offer a bill that would require local health districts to contract with CEOs, and charity care is up in Iowa --

Health News Florida: FL Hospitals Score Best. And Worst.
When it comes to the revolving-door syndrome, Florida hospitals are among the best and the worst.
Only two hospitals in the entire nation scored the equivalent of an "A-plus" on a Medicare analysis of readmission rates, and both are in Florida. Meanwhile, this is the only state that had two hospitals flunk all parts of the test (Gentry, 7/26).

HealthyCal: Salinas Hospital Spurs Legislation On CEO Contracts
As Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System's board of directors looks for a financial partner to pull it out of a bind that threatens future service in the community, a state politician is taking aim at one of the policies that put the Salinas hospital in a precarious state. Assemblyman Luis Alejo, who represents District 28, authored a bill that received unanimous support from the Assembly and is now being heard on the state Senate floor. Assembly Bill 2115, dubbed the "Hospital Accountability Bill," requires that local health care districts enter into a written contract with their hospital administrators (Flores, 7/26).

Des Moines Register: Charity Care Jumps At Iowa Hospitals Amid Economic Slump
Iowa hospitals gave 83 percent more free care last year than they did in 2007, a new survey shows. The jump in charity care came amid an economic slump and a growing number of uninsured Iowans. The Iowa Hospital Association said today that its 118 members gave out $600 million last year in charity care, which is defined as care for which no payment is sought (Leys, 7/25).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.



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