KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Hospitals Turn To Luxury Services To Entice Patients

Hospitals around the country are seeking to attract more paying customers with high-end services while at the same time find ways to cut down expenses from patients who cannot pay their bills.

Los Angeles Times: Hospitals Are Looking More Like Luxury Hotels -- Here's Why
Hospitals all over the country have been using amenities to lure patients – and the healthcare dollars spent by their insurers. Facilities have a lot to gain by treating a high volume of patients, and if it takes hotel-like luxuries to attract them, so be it (Kaplan, 12/4). 

Plain Dealer: Cleveland Clinic To Cut Charity Care For Those Who Live More Than 150 Miles From The City
The still-struggling economy is forcing The Cleveland Clinic to cut charity care to some patients and to require those with insurance to pay for care not covered by their plans. Beginning Jan. 1, all Northeast Ohio Clinic facilities will stop routinely accepting uninsured patients who can't pay, aren't eligible for government assistance and who live more than 150 miles or so from Cleveland (Suchetka, 12/4).

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Blue Cross, Oxendine Clash Over Health Care Pricing
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, the state's largest health insurer with 2.5 million members, has such a strong grip on the market that it does not permit hospitals to make better deals with other health insurers (Teegardin, 12/6).

The Macon (Ga.) Telegraph: Midstate Hospitals Feel Pinch Of Caring (For) Uninsured
Unemployment in the state has remained near 10 percent during the past year, and about 20 percent of Georgians were uninsured in 2009 - the most without any health care coverage during the past decade. The result is more self-pay patients who either can't pay their bills or who have the funds but don't pay their bills for other reasons. Hospitals call the former 'charity care' and the latter 'bad debt' (Burk, 12/5).

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