4 California health systems refused or delayed COVID-19 transfers due to patients’ insurance status: WSJ

The May 26 transfers in question originated from 2 medical facilities in Imperial County that were crowded overrun with COVID-19 patients. Although the WSJ reports that emails reveal state officials called and emailed healthcare facilities informing them that the state would cover treatment expenses of uninsured patients, health centers either held or refused up transfers based upon clients being uninsured, on Medicaid or for other reasons connected to reimbursement.

Prime Healthcare, which owns Huntington Beach Hospital, informed WSJ the patients for which El Centro looked for transfers had actually been supported at El Centro and for that reason no longer fell under the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act..

The WSJ reports that El Centro administrators and doctors said interactions like this left clients waiting as much as four days for transfers and forced some to fly numerous miles for a hospital bed, leaving some patients with lung damage and health problems as a result..

Each system determined in the report as refusing or delaying COVID-19 clients from Imperial County shared declarations with the WSJ in response to its reporting on the internal emails. They are noted below, in addition to Loma Linda and Primes reactions, which were previously pointed out in this quick:.

At least four California health systems postponed the receipt or declined of moved COVID-19 patients due in part to their medical insurance or lack thereof, according to a Wall Street Journal report based upon internal e-mails from Californias Emergency Medical Services Authority.

In another case, a 56-year-old patient who evaluated favorable for COVID-19 required to be transferred from El Centro (Calif.) Regional Medical Center for additional oxygen due to the health centers client volumes. Emails reveal Huntington Beach Hospital contradicted the client up until her insurance company preapproved payments, the WSJ reports. The patient was rather taken to a momentary alternative-care site at a local neighborhood college..

A representative for Cedars-Sinai stated the system complied with the law and basic practices when it declined transfers, keeping in mind that clients in need of transfer on May 26 didnt require customized care readily available at its hospital and the system sought to reserve beds for an expected regional surge.
A representative for Sharp said the system does not restrict transfers based on insurance coverage, and did refrain from doing so on May 26, keeping in mind a transfer demand that day from El Centro was later on canceled and the client was transferred somewhere else.

The WSJ acquired the files and e-mails through a public-records request. In another case, a 56-year-old client who evaluated favorable for COVID-19 needed to be moved from El Centro (Calif.) Regional Medical Center for extra oxygen due to the medical facilitys client volumes. Emails show Huntington Beach Hospital refused to accept the client up until her insurance provider preapproved payments, the WSJ reports.

In one case, Loma Linda University Health looked for assurance from transfer coordinators that it would be paid rates at 130 percent of Medicare prices for two uninsured clients, according to the WSJs gotten emails. The system said in a statement that it followed standard industry practice and stopped requiring the payments after it learned how overrun the medical facilities in Imperial County were.

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The WSJ acquired the documents and e-mails through a public-records request. The communications between regional and state government, medical facility and emergency-response authorities recognize four health center systems as declining or postponing receiving transfer clients in May, but the WSJ notes that “denying healthcare facilities werent called or measured, so the total might be higher.” The 4 systems that were identified are: Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles; Sharp HealthCare in San Diego; Prime Healthcare in Ontario, Calif.; and Loma Linda (Calif.) University Health..