St. Luke’s announces fee reductions

Published 10:00 pm Friday, December 12, 2014

Dr. Jim Holleman and Regina Pate, RN

Dr. Jim Holleman and Regina Pate, RN

Prices of two major outpatient services at St. Luke’s Hospital have been decreased in an effort to better meet the need of the community.

“We contracted with a third-party vendor to review our charges. From that, our administration and board of trustees determined that to be more cost competitive and to keep services close and convenient, we need to lower the charges of several outpatient services at St. Luke’s Hospital,” said Ken Shull, chief executive officer for the community hospital.

Two very important procedures that have been adjusted downward include Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), good news for all hip and knee patients, and to a vital screening that can be the difference between life and death, a colonoscopy.

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In the new fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, 2014, St. Luke’s MRI charges have been reduced an average of $500 per image.

“We made this decision in hopes to encourage more people to use local services versus driving up or down the mountain. To help save time and gas, we have also expanded our MRI schedule so that patients can get quicker, more convenient appointments,” Shull said.

In addition to MRI charges, the charge for a procedure that screens for colon cancer has been adjusted downward by 44 percent. This vital screening tool, a colonoscopy, is the best protection for early detection and treatment. At St. Luke’s, this procedure consistently gets high marks in patient satisfaction, thanks to Dr. Jim Holleman and the perioperative team.

“Quite frankly, I’ve never known anyone to be excited about having a colonoscopy, but I have heard tremendous relief from friends who are thankful to know that cancer is not present,” Shull said. “Beginning at age 50, it’s a smart decision to have a colonoscopy; after that Dr. Holleman will let you know when you’ll need another screening—for most, that won’t be for another 10 years!” Shull added.

“As you might imagine, I get many questions about St. Luke’s services, our staff, our quality, and of course, our charges. No doubt, hospital billing and insurance payments are convoluted and difficult for the general public to understand; but one thing certain is that no hospital will ever be paid all of the charges that go into the cost of a service or procedure,” Shull said. “Healthcare providers strive to provide our best care for our patients, so we are here 24/7, employing a group of highly skilled and educated staff, and providing the technology needed to determine the appropriate treatment. And we all know that quality healthcare costs.

“At St. Luke’s Hospital, we are committed to providing lifesaving, accessible care here in our community,” Shull said. “We can’t treat everything by nature of our size, but those procedures and treatments we can manage, we manage very well.”

-Submitted by Kathy Woodham