Monday, November 23, 2009

The Pub needs for the Citizens of the Shenandoah Valley & Tri-State region to respond

Did you know?

Not-for-profit hospitals (NFPs), have operated free from federal and state taxes because they have promised the government that they would operate as a charity provider of health care for the uninsured and that they would not engage in business "directly or indirectly, for the benefit of private interests." In reality, some NFPs do just the opposite:

    * Charging their uninsured patients significantly more than those who have Insurance, Medicare or Medicaid;

    * Pursuing the poor or uninsured relentlessly by aggressive and humiliating collection techniques;

    * Rampantly violating federal and state prohibition against profiteering by "private interests, " through either "connected" board members and/or physicians whose for-profit businesses are formed and subsidized by the "tax-free" organization.

Certain NFPs, and their subsidiaries who employ the same business model, have amassed and hoarded billions of dollars in cash and marketable securities that otherwise would have been available to provide charity care to those who were contemplated by the tax exemption. Moreover, enormous property and revenues have been isolated from taxation, the effect of which has bestowed upon the NFPs greater liquidity than that possessed by most state and local governments.

Lawsuits have been filed against NFPs asking the Court simply to require the Defendants to honor their obligation to provide charity care to those who need it, and to cease the cronyism to favored board members or physicians whose businesses are being unlawfully subsidized by the perverse business practices summarized above.

(1) Were you a person, who was/is  in "need" or was/is "uninsured", do you know what your options were when you visited one of the facilities of Valley Health Systems?  Were those options explained to you?

(2) Did VH's collection department pursue you relentlessly with aggressive and humiliating collection techniques?

(3) Did VH garnish your wages or force you into bankruptcy?

(4) Did you get a discount off the charges as a result of being an uninsured patient?

If you answered NO to question #1 - please document and send The Pub your story.

If you answered YES to question #2 - please document and send The Pub your story.

If you answered YES to question #3 - please document and send The Pub your story.

If you answered NO to question #4 - please document and send The Pub your story.

*** Note (pdf) files are now OPEN to all for review ***

Valley Health's previous billing policy Valley Health January 15, 2009 Financial Aid Policy basically stated the following:
- Please pay us
- If you cannot pay us, make arrangements to pay us
- If you are uninsured, we want a deposit

Now ... if you were a "needy" or "uninsured" patient, did you know your options?  Were you aware that IF you are uninsured, that you are suppose to get a discount off the charges?  Now take a look at
NEW updated billing policy at the following ... ... Do you see a difference in the two now?

What in the world happen between years 2004 and 2005 when the community benefit had a negative variance of nearly $21million?  In 2004, VH states that their community benefit to the regional area was $59,000,000 BUT in 2005, it fell to just $38,168,146.  Folks, $21,000,000 is not peanuts, something epic took place here!

Review this document: Community Benefit Trend 2004 - 2008

Do you want to see an interesting side-by-side comparison with a "for-profit" hospital?  Then just review this link : Winchester Medical Center / Lewis-Gale Medical Center side-by-side comparison and do you see anything that jumps off the paper at you?

To close ... a few stories to share ...

- A man (uninsured individual) went to his Dr. and he needed an MRI, the man said Doc, how much is the MRI, I need to know since I do not have insurance.  Doc replied the MRI's have went down in the last year or so, should be around $800 bucks.  What do you think his bill was?  $1400 bucks ... now, did he get a discount?

- Remember the man who was featured on TV3 that was under RT. 37 bridge begging for work because he lost his job? 
No need to go into details on that story, but kudos to TV3 shedding much light on his situation.

- A man (who had insurance thru Wal-Mart with max payout of $25k) ... well, he had the grand-slam $125k open heart surgery and he was left with $100k outstanding.  VH sends him a bill requesting $400-$500 bucks a month.  I was quick to reply, Mr. Such-n-Such ... I know right now you are a "charity care" candidate ... he was quick to reply, let me finish my story as he kept fighting the system, he finally got near the top and a week later he received a letter stating that his outstanding balance was ZERO dollars.  Now the man did share, IF Valley Health would of requested him to pay a $100 a month, he clearly stated, I would have started to pay ... and I was quick to reply, yes for the rest of your life!

Folks ... those are just a few documented stories where the perception of the "needy" and "uninformed" have been taken advantage of ... Please help the mission of The Pibbster's Pub in spreading the word and we need more documentation of such stories as described above.

Keep sending The Pub your stories!

Bottom-line ... the mission of THE PIBBSTER's PUB is to keep the citizenry more informed and if that is a crime my friends, then we are guilty as charged.

Respectfully shared and God Bless!
Your friends at The Pibbster's Pub

Please document & e-mail The Pub your story to the following :

Please help us to help you to be more informed!

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