Great River Medical Center to start charging ER copays


WEST BURLINGTON –  Patients will make copayments for Emergency Department treatment at Great River Medical Center beginning Thursday, Feb. 1. The practice has been standard at other hospitals throughout the U.S. for more than five years.

“We will not ask for payment information until patients are screened and receive stabilization treatment,” said Michael McCoy, MD, chief medical officer, Great River Health Systems. “Patient care is our greatest concern.”

Collecting copayments in the Emergency Department will help ensure financial stability as Great River Health Systems faces reduced reimbursements for care and increasing costs.

A copayment is a fixed amount determined by insurance companies that patients pay for specific services. Some insurance plans don’t require copayments.

After treatment, Patient Access staff will verify insurance information and request copayment, if applicable. Cash, check, debit and credit will be accepted. Patients who have insurance without copayment amounts will be asked to pay a $200 down payment. Patients without insurance coverage will be asked to pay a $400 down payment.

All patients will receive bills for the remaining cost of their care that is not covered by insurance.

If the Emergency Department visit leads to a hospital admission, copayments will not be collected at that time.

Choosing the right kind of medical care in the right place is important to reducing health care costs. Emergency Department treatment is for serious illnesses and injuries such as heart attack and stroke symptoms, severe breathing problems and deep cuts. It is the most-expensive level of care.

Basic primary- and walk-in clinic care at Great River Health Systems clinics costs about $150, without tests.

Primary-care clinics should be the first step for medical care and advice. They provide treatments for illnesses like severe colds and flu, earaches and sore throats, and chronic conditions like arthritis, diabetes, COPD and heart disease.

Great River Health System’s primary-care clinics are: Family Medicine, Family Medicine Mercy Plaza, Keokuk, Mediapolis, Medicine Specialists, and Wapello.

Great River QuickCare, 624 S. Roosevelt Ave., Suite 101, Burlington, provides treatment of sudden illness like severe colds and flu, earaches and sore throats. The walk-in clinic is for patients 18 months and older who don’t have a primary-care provider or those needing extended office hours.

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