Categorized | Health

Hospitals reimbursed for treating Hawaii’s uninsured


Hawaii’s hospitals are to be reimbursed $14.4 million in federal funds this year for treating the uninsured who turn to them as a medical last resort.

Lt. Gov. James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr. and Department of Human Services Director Lillian Koller announced last week the new federal funding is being made available to private and public hospitals to help defray the cost of caring for uninsured patients and other budget shortfalls. 

During the ceremony last week at the Healthcare Association of Hawaii headquarters in Honolulu, Aiona and Koller presented $7.5 million in cashable checks to 16 private hospitals statewide. DHS will provide another $6.9 million in federal funding throughout the year to Hawaii Health Systems Corporation public hospitals to help defray costs.

Kona Community Hospital and Hilo Medical Center are Hawaii Health Systems Corporation facilities that will share in the $6.9 million. North Hawaii Community Hospital, a private Big Island facility, received $120,296.

The state DHS secured the funds from the U.S. Centers for Medicaid and Medicaid Services to help ease the strain of absorbing costs of caring for patients without insurance. This money is not part of the federal stimulus package approved by Congress and signed by the President last month.

“With state dollars in short supply due to the economic crisis facing our state and nation, these federal funds take on even greater importance,” Aiona said. “These funds will help our hospitals remain financially viable so they can provide quality health care to all Hawaii residents, regardless of their ability to pay.”

During the last four years, the Lingle-Aiona Administration has provided private and public hospitals with approximately $100 million in federal and state funds to help them treat patients without insurance. Before 2005, hospitals in Hawaii went more than a decade without receiving any federal funds for charity care.

“While Hawaii is fortunate to have the highest percentage of insured residents in the nation,” Koller said, “we still have many thousands of people who lack coverage and therefore must rely on the vital services provided by our private and public hospitals.”

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