HCA to Eliminate Trauma Fees for Uninsured Patients

Nashville, Tenn.-based Hospital Corporation of America has announced it will no longer charge uninsured patients thousands of dollars in trauma fees, according to a Miami Herald report.

HCA announced the new policy to the News Service of Florida earlier this week, according to the report. The hospital operator's decision follows a two-part, yearlong investigative series from the Tampa Bay Times that found Florida hospitals have been charging excessive trauma fees. The series identified HCA as the provider with the highest trauma fees, compared to other Florida hospitals. The for-profit company — which has six trauma centers in Florida — charged trauma care patients (insured and uninsured) an average bill of almost $125,000, or $40,000 more than other trauma centers in the state, according to the Times.

An HCA spokesperson released the following statement to the Times: "Providing trauma services requires highly specialized teams of caregivers, equipment and processes that have to be available 24/7. Our activation fees directly reflect the actual cost in each community of mobilizing these resources for patients who receive trauma care."

HCA's Florida trauma centers have charged more than 900 uninsured patients at least $26 million in trauma fees since 2012, according to the Herald. Overall, one in six of the HCA patients who was charged trauma fees was uninsured. Data on how much HCA actually collected from those uninsured patients isn't publicly available, according to the report.

It isn't clear whether HCA's new policy waiving the trauma fee for uninsured patients will apply outside of Florida, according to the Herald.

More Articles on Hospital Charges:
Report: HCA Leads Florida Hospitals in Trauma Fees  
Post Your Price: It's Not So Simple for Hospital Executives  
California Healthcare Workers Seek to Limit Hospital Pricing 

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