Two Wellmont Health System hospitals that provide care to a large number of TennCare and Medicaid patients will receive about $2 million in essential-access payments in the coming weeks thanks to the support of area lawmakers and Gov. Phil Bredesen.

Both Wellmont Bristol Regional Medical Center and Wellmont Holston Valley Medical Center are recognized by the state as “essential-access” providers because they deliver care to a disproportionate number of TennCare and Medicaid patients. The hospitals expect to receive the essential-access payments in early summer.

“On behalf of our health system and the patients we serve, I thank Gov. Bredesen and our Northeast Tennessee lawmakers for supporting this important funding for hospitals,” said Eddie George, Wellmont’s president and chief executive officer. “Our hospitals deliver millions of dollars in uncompensated care each year, and these essential-access payments provide critical support for our programs and services.”

In fiscal 2003, reimbursement to Wellmont hospitals for care provided to Medicare, TennCare, Medicaid and indigent-care patients was more than $14 million less than the cost of delivering that care. Essential-access payments help offset a portion of those losses.

George said the support of area lawmakers helped ensure this year’s essential-access payments would become reality.

Northeast Tennessee is fortunate to be represented by an outstanding group of legislators,” he said. “Our region owes a debt of gratitude to Sens. Crowe, Ramsey, Sutherland and Williams and Reps. Cochran, Davis, Godsey, Harrison, Hawk, Mumpower, Patton and Vaughn.

“Their hard work is helping ensure our hospitals have the resources needed to provide the best care possible to the communities we serve.”


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