Sunday, June 4, 2017

Kingston Hospital Underpaid by Medicare for 15 years

For about 15 years, Kingston and Benedictine Hospitals (now Health Alliance Hospital) have been underpaid by Medicare.  Northern Dutchess and Vassar Hospitals in Dutchess County receive about 25 percent more Medicare reimbursement for the same procedure.  This is an underpayment of about
$10 Million per year for Kingston's hospitals.  For 15 years, Kingston has lost about $150 Million.
What has this caused?

1)  Nurses and technicians get paid more at Northern Dutchess Hospital.  Nurses that hire and train
in Kingston often leave for jobs in Dutchess County.

2)  Dutchess hospitals attract more Medicare hospital admissions, nurses and doctors, while Kingston
loses medical expertise.

3)  Empire BlueCross has decided to drop Kingston hospital admissions for seniors, non-seniors and every age bracket, since BlueCross and Kingston Hospital cannot agree on a fair reimbursement schedule.  Why?  Because BlueCross wants to reimburse Kingston at a lower rate, which is consistent with the lower Medicare reimbursement rate of Ulster versus Dutchess Counties.  All Ulster County Government employees, who are covered by Empire BlueCross, cannot receive in-hospital treatment at Kingston Hospital. 

Our local hospital officials and some politicians have tried over the past 15 years to appeal this injustice, but they have failed to correct this unfairness, which almost destroyed our local hospitals.

Personally, I believe that this 15 years of Medicare unfairness deserved to be fought with a lawsuit by the Kingston / Health Alliance / WMC Hospital.  By now, we people of Ulster County would have gotten the attention of news outlets, government agencies.and the court system.

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