Around 1000 patients who made visits to the Westlake Regional Hospital emergency room in the past seven months had an unpleasant surprise when they received their bill.
The company Westlake contracted with to operate the emergency room does not participate with Anthem or Humana health insurance companies, meaning insured patients received bills for seeing doctors out of their network.
Tim Menton, Westlake interim CEO, told board members during the monthly meeting Tuesday night they want to get word out to patients that the company will accept the payment limits set by the insurance companies.
Menton said patients will receive a check from their insurance company for the amount of the bill they are willing to pay an “out-of-network” provider. The patient can send that check along with a copy of the “explanation of benefits” form to the company. Aside from any deductible or co-pay, the patient will not be required to pay anything further.
The company operating the emergency room, NES Health Care Group, has signed a contract with Anthem and will become an accepted provider with the insurance company as of April 5. They have not yet signed an agreement with Humana.
Rodger Klein, Westlake interim chief financial officer, said the company could possibly reimburse patients who have already made payments beyond the terms NES has agreed to.
Payments should be sent to Probill, a company contracted with NES to handle their billing, at P.O. Box 2078, Huntington WV, 25720-2078. For questions, call 1-800-998-7578.
A deadline to submit proposals to purchase or partner with Westlake has passed and several proposals have been submitted, according to Klein.
Klein would not elaborate on how many proposals have been received. Original plans called for a committee to narrow down the proposals to three. When asked if there were enough proposals to do that, Klein said, “there’s some narrowing down to be done.”
Klein said they are encouraged by the group of proposals they have received. He expects the committee to review them and to discuss them at the regular March meeting.
Westlake Information Technology Director Guy Shepperd unveiled a newly developed website for Westlake during the monthly meeting.
Shepperd said the site would be updated frequently. In the future, it will become a place where patients can link to their accounts and medical information as well as set up appointments.
The website is located at www.westlakeregionalhospital.com.
Westlake is still struggling financially but did receive an influx of cash this month from the state.
The hospital received $398,000 from Kentucky Medicaid as a first payment toward the hospital’s effort to develop electronic medical records.
Menton said the payment was twice what they first expected and a second payment is expected next year.
The hospital’s census is still not where it needs to be for the hospital to be profitable. The average daily census in January was 13.5, well under 18.8 budgeted for the fiscal year to date.
The hospital showed a net loss of $181,000 for the month, with a year-to-date loss of $1.7 million.
Westlake is continuing with a project to add a behavioral health wing with a target opening date of July 1.
Menton said three companies attended a pre-construction pre-bid meeting and they expect all three companies to bid for the construction contract.
Offices that were housed in the wing are already being relocated, he added.
By Sharon Burton