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Indigent health care costs released

February 23rd, 2012 under Top Stories

By MARK GLOVER

ALPINE – Big Bend Regional Hospital District paid $791,679 last year for indigent health care claims, according to Maria O’Bryant, district executive secretary.

Upper Payment Limit Medicaid matched these funds on a nearly dollar-for-dollar basis. Most of the payments were made to the Big Bend Regional Medical Center. O’Bryant, reporting to the board members at Tuesday night’s meeting in Alpine, stated the amount included $97,059 for out-of-district health care. The average claim amount per member for the County Indigent Health Care Program averaged $553 with an approximate average of 110 members per month. A total 2,871 claims were processed.

The board also heard a request from the Brewster County Sheriff’s Office to cover travel expenses for inmates at the Brewster County Jail that require outside medical attention. The item was tabled. A last minute phone call by the County Treasurer, prior to the meeting, informed that one of the two invoices presented for reimbursement was incorrect.

“They don’t have their ducks in a row,” said Precinct 4 representative Lee Roberts. “It would be nice if the sheriff or one of his deputies would come to our meeting and discuss it. We don’t have correct bills and we’d be way out of line to take action on this matter. Seems like everybody is broke around here and that’s why they come to us, but it might help the county to come a little closer together if we all discussed it.”

The board approved a similar request last year when Marfa Independent School District requested reimbursement for the annual salary of a school nurse. However, one board member reported that some citizens had questioned the payment, considering that the school board and the hospital board were two different taxing entities and that swapping money between the two was a form of “double taxation.”

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