CHARITY CARE: UNLV Wants Freeloading Companies to Pay Up
In response to a new report showing that the University of Nevada-Las Vegas' University Medical Center lost $29.9 million in uncompensated care last year -- largely due to "employers who offer little or no health insurance to their employees" -- UMC trustees have "set a 30-day deadline ... to identify solutions." Dr. C. Jeffrey Waddoups, an associate professor of economics at UNLV, found that "construction workers, who make up 10.2% of workers in the county, account for 25%" of charity care patients at UMC. Wholesale/retail employees make up 20.5% of the workforce, and 31% of charity care patients. Because UMC is required by law to absorb costs for patients who can't pay, Waddoups charged that employers are getting a "free ride." The Rev. Spencer Barret, co-chair of the Interfaith Council, which has been asked to help develop solutions to the problem, said, "We are supporting companies who don't support their workers. It is morally offensive to subsidize low-wage-paying employers." Mike Slater, director of the Interfaith Council, said the group is "considering seeking a legal solution that would require employers to reimburse UMC for providing uncompensated care" (Nadler, 3/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.