When it's medically necessary, but not an emergency,
and there's no money
A group of volunteer physicians meets regularly at Cottage to review a list of patient cases submitted by their peers. These are patients who can't afford to pay for the hospital attention they need. They are not emergencies, but their care is definitely necessary.
Take the case of the 10-year-old girl with a cyst in her left jaw. If untreated, the cyst would likely have broken the child's jaw, damaged her teeth, and ultimately required multiple bone grafting. The solution: surgery to remove the cyst.
Or consider the 52-year-old woman with a 30 cm (12 inch) abdominal pelvic mass. If left untreated, she would have felt increasing pressure, pain and breathing difficulty. The solution: a costly but necessary total abdominal hysterectomy, including removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes, and dissection of the lymphnodes.
There are eye surgeries, hip replacements, skin grafts, hernia repairs, complex cases and simpler procedures: the list goes on. In 2009, more than 135 cases like these were brought to this physician panel. Its task is to evaluate the applications and, where appropriate, recommend to Cottage that the procedure be scheduled and hospital charges waived. The cost of these waived fees in 2009 totaled more than $645,000. It's the right thing to do for the needy among us. And we salute the physicians who give of their own time to serve on this panel: Drs. Alex Koper II, Jay Winner, Andy Gersoff, and Gary Bradley, as well as the physicians who submit the names, and others involved in the care of these patients.
Community Financial Assistance Program
In an effort to support our community's health needs, it is the policy of Cottage Health System to assist patients who have limited or no means to pay for care. Through the Community Service Program, Cottage Health System provides discounted or no-cost care to patients who qualify. Eligibility for the Community Service Program is based on income, residency, and ineligibility for government insurance.
Eligibility for this program will be determined by documentation provided by the patient. In order to qualify, a patient must have an income that is below 350% of the Federal Poverty Level, and the patient must not have a third-party insurer or qualify for Medi-Cal, Healthy Families, or other government program.
State law requires that Cottage provide patients with applications for government healthcare programs if no proof of third-party coverage is provided upon registration. Applications for the Community Service Program can be obtained from your Admitting Representative, or by calling (805) 682-7111, ext. 3688. In addition, an application can be requested of the Business Office at (805) 879-8900.