By Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer
After years of effort, the Roosevelt General Hospital Physicians Clinic is on the cusp of being able to receive increased reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid, which hospital officials say will help the facility and community.
RGH recently received word that the clinic’s Medicare number is in the mail. After being certified by the state as a hospital-based rural health clinic last July, the clinic can bill Medicare and Medicaid at a higher rate, once it has the number.
RGH Chief Financial Officer Eva Stevens said she won’t know how much more money the hospital will be getting until the number arrives.
Stevens said the federal government recognizes rural areas don’t have many resources available as urban areas do.
“Our cost for providing health care is a little higher than what it would be in an urban area,” Stevens said. “That is the whole concept behind the designation because what they do is pay us on based on their standard method of payment.”
Stevens said Medicare and Medicaid reimburse the clinic for all the costs for patients participating in the programs. Private insurance companies still pay the same amounts.
The clinic has been able to bill at higher rates for some Medicaid patients, but not all Medicare patients. Once the number comes, the clinic can bill for both.
“That is why it is so important to us,” Stevens said. “We were designated back in July, but we couldn’t bill until we go our number assigned to us.”
Clinic Administrator Tina Hill said with the designation, the clinic will be able to provide financial assistance to uninsured patients in the future. She said that would help the community and assist the clinic in providing better technology for treatments.
“So that way we can make sure we can provide good-quality health care to our patients,” Hill said.