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Changes to Skaggs Emergency Payment Policy

By: News Release
Posted: Sunday, November 27, 2011

Branson, MO – Beginning December 1, 2011 anyone needing a prescription in the Skaggs Emergency Department will need to pay their co-pay if they have insurance.  Patients with no insurance will be required to pay a $40 deposit.  If they cannot pay at time of service, Skaggs will hold the prescription for up to seven days.  If patients are unable to afford the $40, they may apply for charity care through the hospital business office.

“Over the last year about one-third of the estimated 120 patients seen per day in the Skaggs Emergency Department have no health insurance,” explains William K. Mahoney, Skaggs President and CEO.  “In August the emergency department reported $1.3 million in bad debt.  This amount of bad debt is unsustainable for our operation.  Our percentage of bad debt from the emergency department is considerably higher than the national and Missouri average.”

As a result of the reported bad debt, the payment policy for the emergency department was reviewed.  Each patient in the emergency department will receive the same quality care and treatment they have always received by board certified physicians.  Once treated a patient could be provided a short supply of needed medication.  No prescriptions will be provided until the required co-pay or $40 is made or arrangements are made through our charity care program.

Skaggs encourages a community of well people and strives to achieve this by continuously reevaluating preventative practices.  Many of the patients seeking treatment at Skaggs Emergency Department have minor aches and pains, which can become expensive to treat in the ED.  Following a visit in the emergency department, patients will be given an appointment to see a family physician where they will be further evaluated and possibly offered a prescription as their medical condition dictates.

Patients with minor medical needs are encouraged to visit Skaggs Urgent Care, inside Skaggs Outpatient Center, 545 Branson Landing Blvd., Branson.  Urgent Care is open seven days a week.  For more details about Skaggs Urgent Care visit www.skaggs.net/emergencyservices or call (417) 348-8646.

Comments (13) - comment on this story

just me - 11/27/2011 11:03:34 AM
So, Skaggs are now charging to write prescriptions. I thought that was part of treating a patient. If you are poor or live paycheck to paycheck, Skaggs will let you go without proper medications. The article states that some people go to the ER with minor aches and pains. The key word is "some". How about the others? Some people may only have $40 and they will need that to fill a presription, but Skaggs will take the $40 to write the prescription. Ridiculous!
Curmudgeon - 11/27/2011 4:33:23 PM
$1.3 MILLION bad debt in a single month? WOW ! Yes, but how much of that amount was for unnecessary lab and XRay?
Devon - 11/28/2011 9:06:38 AM
To Just Me - So, when you go to your regular Dr you don't have to pay for the prescription when you pick it up at the pharmacy because it "was part of treating a patient"??
Paying for healthcare - 11/28/2011 9:30:58 AM
just me, The $40 IS for the prescription. I relize that a lot of people feel that they should get everything, including heatlhcare, for free; however that is not how it always works. When you receive free healthcare, someone IS paying for it.
Paying for healthcare - 11/28/2011 9:32:37 AM
Curmudgeon, Unnecessary lab and x-ray? If it was so unnecessary, why go to the ER to begin with?
hillbillymama - 11/28/2011 8:32:21 PM
Anyone complaining about this policy....think about it. 1.3 MILLION in bad debt! Who do you think should pay that bill? And I agree with "Paying for healthcare". There is no such thing as free healthcare...and it is not okay to run up ER bills with no intention of ever paying for it. That is where that $1.3M came from!
burned - 11/29/2011 6:12:24 AM
I am not saying that it ok for people to not pay for the er visit but whatever happened to the policy of we will not refuse to treat you if you have no insurance? I for one do not have insurance because I can not afford it, my children are on mc+ but I make too much to qualify for coverage, and yes I have applied for the assistance program thru skaggs and was denied because I make too much and well then there is signing up for the community health clinic but now having to wait for appointment well that is a 2 month wait..... so i guess if i get sick or have a heart attack or get cancer I will have to go without any medicine because I never have $40 to spend because it will take food out of my kids mouths. So thank you skaggs for helping people out once again.
this article - 11/29/2011 6:38:52 AM
This article bears out why they are called a "Not for profit". te he
Taney County Resident - 11/29/2011 7:19:00 AM
Will the Charity Care Program be available 24 hrs./7 days?
just me - 11/29/2011 8:38:23 AM
To Devon - when I go to my doctor I pay for my office visit. If I need a prescription it is written free of charge. I do not pay extra for him to write the prescription. According to the article, if you have insurance, you must pay your co-pay first then you will receive your prescription. That is understandable and I always pay my co-pay. My issue is with the uninsured. They will not receive a prescription for their needed medication unless they pay $40. The majority of the uninsured do not have the money at the time to pay for both the prescription and the medicine. I'm not saying they should be treated for free, I'm saying they don't need an added fee. If they could afford insurance I'm sure they would have it. The majority of employers in the Branson area do not provide health insurance and if you get your own insurance it is very expensive. Does that mean the uninsured should have to pay more when visiting Skaggs ER? The insured pay their co-pay regardless if they need a prescription or not. Does the $40 go toward the bill or is this a separate charge that only the uninsured pay?
wondering - 11/29/2011 2:53:39 PM
Or are they just trying to weed out the drug seekers who are not going to pay for their medical services anyways?? A copay for any Dr/Emergency or Urgent care is an agreement between the patient and the insurance. If the patient does not pay it at the time of service, then the insurance can cancel their policy.
burned - 11/30/2011 6:20:20 PM
taney county resident if you are asking about the community health clinic being open 24/7? No it is on like 2 days a week and i think they are wednesday evening and sat before noon, it is faith community health center if you want to check into it more.
Aux Arcs - 03/27/2013 10:58:10 PM
You only have to pay co pay for medication that is not necessity . So if I dont have insurance I have to pay $40 for Rx. Not bad, the insurance I have an ER visit is $200 co pay.