Memorial Health patients diagnosed with COVID getting help with their hospital bills

Memorial Health patients diagnosed with COVID getting help with their hospital bills

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The burden of a COVID diagnosis can be a big one, but even more so for those who are hospitalized with the infectious disease. Not only do you face health challenges, but also financial ones.

But thanks to support from one local hospital some of that burden is being carried elsewhere.

“This is just another example of how the company views it’s role during times of unprecedented stress both economic and medical for our community,” said Dr. Stephen Thacker, Associate Chief Medical Officer at Memorial Health.

HCA, Memorial’s parent company, went out of their way to help their patients through the COVID-19 pandemic. Since April of 2020 they have committed to pay for hospital COVID expenses not covered by insurance companies and are even refunding COVID related copay charges.

Memorial Health leaders say they have treated more than 1,000 patients in that time with a wide range of care needs.

“I don’t have a number to give you as far as what the estimate savings is to patients because it’s really going to be dependent on the type of care that they had,” explained Dr. Thacker. “Some individuals who had very long hospital stays maybe more impacted than those that had shorter stays and for many folks this could be a really, a game changer from the standpoint of financial stability following what is often times a really challenging scenario to get over which is the hospitalization and the costs that come with that.”

Leaders say there could be additional charges for patients from contractors within the hospital, but it impacts all COVID patients and their care with the infectious disease. While this decision impacts Memorial Hospital, it also applies to other HCA hospitals. The company never accepted CARES Act funding.

“HCA as a company managed through the pandemic well without having to take significant loss,” Thacker said. “So, we felt like the right thing as stewards of tax dollar money was to provide that back to the federal government.”

Memorial leaders say patients are being notified with letters from HCA about the covered payments and those notices are still going out now and even to those who may need their help in the future.

If you are one of those patients who saw a change in your medical bills, we’d love to hear from you. You can tell us your story by emailing our health reporter at bcaldwell@wtoc.com.

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