Caring for Those in Need
During uncertain economic times, more people rely on community hospitals and health systems like WellStar to receive their healthcare. In FY2010, Georgia’s unemployment rate was more than 10 percent, and nearly 10 percent of all healthcare provided by WellStar was to those without insurance.
With rising numbers of uninsured patients, more care was unreimbursed. In FY2010, WellStar incurred costs nearing $48 million for charity care provided to patients in Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Douglas and Paulding counties. Based on state regulations and WellStar policies, these patients are defined as eligible for charity, and receive their care without obligation to pay for it.
In addition, WellStar provided over $64 million in unreimbursed healthcare to those individuals who, for whatever reason, chose not to apply for charity care. Further, WellStar facilities and physicians were reimbursed $31 million less than the cost of caring for Medicaid patients and $58 million less than the cost of care for Medicare patients.
In total, this equates to $201 million of unreimbursed care provided by WellStar in FY2010. This represents more than 14 percent of all costs incurred by WellStar.