Scottish Rite Hospital To Start Charging Patients For Services

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children plans to break a 90-year tradition in order the remain financially viable. It will soon begin billing patients to help pay for expenses.

Since the hospital’s founding in 1921, it has not charged for care, relying solely on donations from individuals, corporations or foundations.

The hospital says in polling patients it believes 90% have third party coverage from private insurance companies, Medicaid or children’s health programs.

Four-year-old Georgia Gross is a special needs child with a shot at being a regular kid, despite not having either thumb. She had a hypoplastic thumb on her right hand, but it wasn’t connected.

Her mother, Linda Chido explains the dramatic surgery involved. “They amputated the thumb, the hypoplastic thumb, and they moved the forefinger to the thumb position.” She continued, “It was exciting to see her hold a crayon and color with a crayon–couldn’t do that before.”

The family makes the trip from Austin about every six months as they plan for more surgeries on the girl’s other arm, which sports a red cast. They say they couldn’t afford it if they had to pay out of pocket anywhere else. “I don’t know if we could get her health care coverage, and that’s a pretty scary prospect for her,” Chido told CBS 11.

She called the current policy “Awesome.”

Hospital officials say they’ve tried hard to maintain the philosophy. “We never required any payment for any services, regardless of families’ ability to provide that or not,” said Mark Bateman, the vice president for communications.

But changing times are forcing the hospital’s hand. “We will continue to see the patients that need to special care and attention that we provide here at the hospital, regardless of their ability to pay,” said Bateman.

“We were told this was the best place to come,” said Chido, speaking of the hospital’s reputation for orthopedic work for children.  Scottish Rite handles only referrals from other hospitals or doctors.

Chido says their work gives her hope for Georgia. “She can do everything a typical kiddo can do….. we just gave her….the potential for more functionality.”

The hospital says the change in philosophy was a painful and thoughtful process two years in the making; it’ll be another two months before they begin asking patients or their families about its need for insurance or other forms of payment.

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  • YRofTexas

    Is this going to change the ‘tax status’ of this company? Are they going to be considered to be ‘for profit’? Changing over like this may also discourage people from sponsoring them, if they perceive that the Scottish Rite Hospital has other forms of payment coming in (insurances, medicare, medicaid)? And with the new Obamacare incentive, how will this effect Scottish Rite? Will this also effect the quality of care, whom they can help and not?

    I am hopeful that in the two years of mulling this over, that they thought this through, considered the effects of Obamacare and accepting insurances will have (in the long run), perhaps on its very existence 20, 30 years from now…

    • 2sister

      It might not be considered for profit. It will probably will depend on what the money is spent on.

  • KRay

    YR, my severely disabled kid, who is a patient at TRSH, doesn’t care about your “Obamacare” fears. This is more about a top-heavy hospital which just completed a multi-million dollar expansion and which is hesitant to completely restructure fiscally. TSRH owes every patients’ family an explanation, especially considering that I got none when I specifically inquired about this two weeks ago.

  • Grateful

    I just wanted to say thank you to this hospital for providing 90 years of service to children for free. Sometimes we forget about the good people do and just focus on the negitive. Thanks again!

  • DavidPFiore

    Did someone at some in sensitive hospital forget to tell him about “Penny Health”. Also If you aren’t employed and have no means of paying for treatment the hospital will file the form and get reimbursed by medicaid.

  • MattLK

    In my opinion, no one owes anyone an explanation when they have been providing free services. I will be impacted as well, my son is a frequent visitior and currently unable to walk, However, they owe me nothing. I am very appreciatative and consider our family blessed for having the opportunity to see doctors at this facility.

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