How East Texas Hospitals Compare To National ER Study - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/16/06-Tyler

How East Texas Hospitals Compare To National ER Study

  The results of the study conclude the vital system of emergency rooms in the U.S. is on the verge of total collapse, as people without healthcare seek medical attention.
  But here in East Texas, the Trinity Mother Francis Health System is not quick to call their situation a "crisis." 
  "I think every community in America is seeing this," says John Moore, Media Relations for Trinity Mother Frances Health System. 
  In fiscal year 2004, Trinity Mother Francis Health System paid $79.5 million dollars to cover charity, under-insured and uninsured patients.
  That's not just those who come to their ERs but patients in their specialty and direct care clinics. 
  "That is an increase over the previous year and so the number is going up.  In our situation it was by a few million dollars that it went up," says Moore. 
  But the numbers could be worse.
  Agencies, like the Northeast Texas Public Health District for example, says they treat those without healthcare so local ERs don't get bogged down. 
  "If we can get them to come here to provide that care for much less, we save our taxpayer dollars, local dollars, save the patient time and energy that it took for them to go to the emergency room and we save the hospital dollars.
  70% of the health district's patients don't have insurance and many need expensive medical treatment. "Most patients are chronic disease management, those with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, says Oyer.
  While the national study also says 500,000 patients are turned away each year, don't expect that to happen at these two facilities here in fast Texas. 
  "Our first concern is to take care of the patient, their problem, and make sure they get the best care possible," says Moore.

Christine Nelson reporting.

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