Friday, September 2, 2011

Irene Leaves A Paper Trail

During natural disasters, the preservation of human life takes precedence over anything else. When it comes to health facilities, that can often mean the relocation or evacuation of patients and staff. In the case of the recent Hurricane Irene, it also meant that many facilities were suddenly faced with the massive logistical and compliance problems of moving hundreds of patients out of hospitals and nursing homes.

Now that the threat has passed, many hospitals are left with a paperwork nightmare that could take days to sort through.
Many questions have arisen. What is the Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement policy with respect to the transfer of patients between institutions? If a federal disaster area is declared, do the feds pick up the tab? How will private insurers pay for the costs incurred?
Crain’s New York Business asked CEO of the New York State Health Facilities Association, Richard Herrick, for his opinion. “The question is, who pays for what? Who bills for the services and costs incurred?” It is certainly a perplexing problem.

For many of the states affected, nothing on this scale has ever occurred, and contingency plans to handle the crisis were not in place. It is unreasonable to expect every facility to prepare for every possible disaster, but until federal agencies are willing to provide answers, many health facilities will be left to work things out on their own.


Pam Argeris is a thought leader in the Healthcare Industry and possesses extensive, hands-on experience with CMS compliance, and multiple regulatory bodies such as NCQA, JACHO, and DOI. In her role at Merrill Corp., Pam focuses on developing solutions for compliance and quality assurance, delivered in a cost effective manner to improve beneficiary and prospect communications. You can contact Pam at

No comments:

Post a Comment