"It was such a relief" – Aurora woman thankful for Edward Hospital's financial assistance following heart attack.
Edward Hospital media release:
At the time, Louisa Meyer couldn't believe what the Edward Hospital Emergency Room physician was telling her. "He told me, 'You had a heart attack.' I told him 'that's nonsense,'" recalls the 61-year old Aurora resident.
But it was true. Louisa has her husband, Petrus, also 61, to thank for realizing something wasn't right when Louisa told him she felt hot and was sweating on that July day in 2009. Following a sharp pain in the abdomen and a bout of nausea, they were on their way to the Edward ER.
Not long after arriving, Louisa was taken to Edward's cardiac cath lab where an interventional cardiologist inserted two stents to treat blockages in Louisa's coronary arteries. Six days later, a cardiothoracic surgeon performed bypass surgery to work around additional clogged coronary arteries and restore normal blood flow to Louisa's heart.
When it was all said and done, Louisa had a $64,741 bill from Edward, but insurance through her husband's job as a school bus driver covered only $1,807 of the amount.
It was a situation Louisa and her husband never envisioned when they moved to the United States from their native South Africa in 2001 when Petrus' company transferred him to Chicago. About four years ago, the company was sold and Petrus was out of a job. At about the same time, the family had just bought a house, but then couldn't afford the payments. They've tried to sell the house, but have had no luck during the recession and difficult times for the housing industry, so the house is in foreclosure. There was no way the Meyers could pay the remaining $62,934 of Louisa's bill.
"It was really hard, it feels like you can't go any further and it's really hard to look into someone's eyes to ask for help," says Louisa.
But there was help for Louisa through Edward's Financial Assistance Policy. Working with an Edward financial assistance counselor about her options, it was determined, based on her financial situation, Edward was able to cover 100% of her bill, all $62,934.
"It was such a relief. You'd rather die because you don't have the money," says Louisa. "There's nothing you can do. Then, all of a sudden, they say they can help you. It was unbelievable. I was crying so much."
Louisa and many more patients like her benefit from Edward's generous Financial Assistance Policy and other healthcare programs and services for the community.
In fiscal year 2009 (July 1, 2008 - June 30, 2009), Edward provided nearly $70 million in community benefits ($69,457,915), $4.5 million more or a 7 percent increase over the previous year. Charity care accounted for $8,933,911 million of the total community benefit amount, higher than 2008 and the sixth year in a row the amount has gone up. Charity care is the cost of medical services that were provided free or partially reimbursed.
Edward Hospital, Edward Medical Group, Linden Oaks at Edward and Linden Oaks Medical Group treat patients without regard for their ability to pay for services.
"Our charity care program provides a much needed safety net for those residents of our growing community who need it most," says Pamela Davis, president & CEO, Edward Hospital. "We have a responsibility to take care of those who don't have health insurance or the financial resources to pay for health care."
Edward's Financial Assistance Policy provides 100% assistance for uninsured patients who earn up to three times the U.S. poverty level. There's a sliding scale discount for those whose income is up to five times the poverty level. For uninsured patients with incomes above that level, a discount is offered that's equal to the average managed care discount and Edward works with patients to develop payment plans to pay off balances.
In addition, Edward has specially trained counselors who help uninsured patients apply for public aid and social workers and discharge planners who work with community clinics, primary care doctors and follow-up providers to deliver care to qualifying patients on a sliding scale or at no cost.
Charity care is just one element of Edward's total community benefit amount. Unreimbursed costs of Medicare and Medicaid, bad debt and community services also contribute to the total, which has steadily increased since fiscal year 2002, from $25.4 million to almost $70 million in fiscal year 2009.
Naperville, Illinois (IL) - Edward Hospital and Health Services