TULARE COUNTY: District Hospital Urged to Resume Indigent Care
Tulare District Hospital's Board of Directors next week will consider an offer from Tulare County to once again treat indigent patients, the Fresno Bee reports. The proposed contract would pay the 112-bed hospital a flat daily rate of $877 for health services it provides to the indigent. Although the board will consider the offer, hospital CEO Robert Montion said the hospital may dismiss the contract as "an insult" and "possibly illegal." He explained, "The rates being offered are below our costs. That's not allowed by law. We can't eat crumbs from other hospitals. That's not going to happen." Officials argue, however, that the county can no longer afford to pay for care on a percentage basis and urged the hospital to agree to the contract. Two other county hospitals -- Kaweah Delta Hospital and Sierra View Hospital -- receive $995 and $892 per day, respectively. However, Montion stressed that the "issue isn't just about money." He said, "It's about philosophy of medical care. Are we going to deliver care with every hospital accessible to everyone?" But if the board approves the contract, "it could put an end to hard feelings between the hospital and the county over which local hospitals would get contracts to care for indigent patients," the Fresno Bee reports. The board will consider the county's offer at its Dec. 22 meeting (Griswold, 12/13).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.