Hackensack Meridian drops ER copays, deductibles for government workers

Edison, N.J.-based Hackensack Meridian Health will waive copays for furloughed federal employees and their families who receive emergency care at its 17 hospitals and urgent care centers.

The partial government shutdown, which as of Jan. 17 was in its 26th day, affects 5,000 New Jersey residents.

Effective Jan. 18, employees who present their federal ID at the time of registration will be eligible for the discount.

"We have seen the financial impact the federal government shutdown has had on many families and we want to ensure that people will receive the care they need without worrying about the cost," Robert C. Garrett, CEO of Hackensack Meridian, said in a news release sent to Becker's Hospital Review.

In a subsequent interview with Becker's, Mr. Garrett continued: "The idea came from our CFO, Robert Glenning. He spoke to me about the concept and then we worked on it together to develop it. I loved it. I think that's kind of unique that your CFO can be so compassionate and really looking out for the community and our federal workers."

He added: "I'm taking this opportunity to take a call to action for other leaders of health systems and other hospitals to follow suit. I happen to be at a New Jersey Hospital Association annual meeting, and I've mentioned it to quite a few of my colleagues. There is a lot of interest in moving forward with it. That's encouraging to me, because Hackensack Meridian, as big as we are — we're one health system. We need health systems around the nation to follow suit because it's the right thing to do to support these people in their time of need."

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