Local hospitals try best to help everyone – rich or poor

Area hospitals make sure all of their patients are helped and never turned away, rich or poor.

Sarah Vonderhaar, media coordinator at Freeman Health System, said if patients cannot be helped at the hospital, they always have other alternatives.

Freeman Hospital and St. John’s Regional Medical Center have a number of alternatives for patients that are without insurance.

St. John’s is nonprofit and medically treats patients regardless of their situation.

After treatment occurs, the patient is asked if insurance is present.

Patients without insurance are asked to fill out a Medicaid application. Freeman does the same.

For Kansas and Oklahoma patients, Freeman has financial councilors who help assist patients in filling out the Medicaid application.

The Missouri Department of Family Services also accepts Medicaid applications.

Marion Adkins, director of patient financial services at Freeman, said Freeman has financial councilors, social workers and two Medicaid intake workers, who are employed by the state of Missouri, that assist patients.

If a patient does not qualify for Medicaid, the hospital has an In-house Charity program.

To qualify for the charity program, a patient must meet the national poverty guidelines.

When determining the eligibility for the program, Adkins looks at the patient’s gross income based on earnings within the last three to 12 months.

Freeman may also require a patient to show proof of low income.

This program is only for patients who access the hospital inpatient services.

St. John’s has a Sisters of Mercy Charity program that follows some of the same guidelines as the in-house charity program at Freeman. As part of the acceptance process into the Sisters of Mercy program, the patient must fill out an application.

Adkins said, if in an instance a patient at Freeman does not meet the national poverty guidelines, Freeman works with the patients to make monthly payments; this is done through a local bank.

“Freeman helps their inpatients find ways to meet their financial obligations,” Adkins said. “Our goal at the hospital is to help people and finds ways they can satisfy their financial obligation for their medical services.”