Hospital Charity Care

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE)- It doesn't matter who you are or where you're from, the Memorial Health System of East Texas says that everyone that comes through their doors can get some type of medical care.

Dr. Byrant Krenek, President/CEO of Memorial Health System of East Texas says, "By law a non-profit hospital in that state of Texas has to provide at least five percent of its net revenue in charity care. "

In Memorial's case they exceeded that. In 2008, the hospital reports absorbing close to 29 million dollars in charity care-- that is mainly the 53,879 ER visits  provided to patients with no insurance or no income to pay.

"There's an increase year over year over year. I don't know if there's every been a decrease, number one your population growing in East Texas a certain part of that population is not covered by insurance," says Krenek.

President-Elect Barack Obama wants to provide universal healthcare for all Americans that want it, but opponents are already talking about the massive cost. Krenek feels that the money is already right in front of us.

He adds, "The cost is already in the system, you don't see people walking around this community with a broken are that's not being fixed because they can't pay for it."

But if Obama's plan was to go through, it could actually be beneficial to non-profit hospitals, because it would mean more people would be able to pay their medical bills. But, until that happens, Memorial is still committed to providing quality healthcare, no matter the price tag.

"Part of our mission is to take care of people that need the care no one in very few instances are people going to be turned away for care they need."

Memorial is tax exempt, so tax payers don't pay to maintain or operate the facility.