We at Beaumont Emergency Center understand there may be some frustration about our inability to accept Medicare or Medicaid.
We often get the following questions:
- Why can’t we accept Medicare and Medicaid?
- Why can’t a person with Medicare or Medicaid pay cash for their visit?
The answer has to do with Federal law, which is different from Texas law, governing private pay patients. At this time, the Federal agency that administers federal programs, The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), does not recognize us as an emergency room and will not allow us to receive any compensation for treating Medicare and Medicaid recipients. They have also determined that it is illegal for our facility to accept any form of payment from a person who is enrolled in these programs. We do not know if this will always be the case.
When lives are on the line, medical care comes first and business comes second. Whether or not the federal government changes its policies, we will still offer to evaluate every patient who comes through our doors. As emergency healthcare providers, it is our duty to make sure our patients aren’t suffering a truly life or limb-threatening emergency, like a heart attack or stroke, blood clots or severe infections… or many other conditions requiring immediate care. Even if we don’t receive a dime, when a person is having a life-threatening emergency, we will treat and stabilize them. This is also the law (see: EMTALA).
Thankfully, many times Medicare patients that present here do not have critical emergencies. We will still go out of our way to help make contact with a primary physician or other local resources for additional care and follow-up. We constantly strive to make this process as efficient as possible because we care about everyone’s time, whether or not we are able to provide treatment.
We hope this provides some understanding into the complexities of the regulations under which we work every day. And, no matter how complex or challenging, we will be there for the patients and families of Beaumont and the surrounding communities, 24/7.