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Hospital assistance up 17%

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  • | 4:48 p.m. March 16, 2012
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FORT MYERS — The Lee Memorial Health System contributed $223 million in health care costs to Lee County and the surrounding community in 2011 — a 17.5% increase over 2010, according to an independent audit.

PricewaterhouseCoopers prepared the audit. “The benefits provided by our health system go well beyond providing high quality medical care to our community,” Lee Memorial Health System President Jim Nathan said in a press release. “We also contribute cash and in kind services and programs that benefit the community.”

The gap between the cost of care for Medicare and Medicaid patients and the reimbursement the hospital receives was a “significant driver of the health system's community contribution,” the release stated. For example, the unpaid cost of Medicare increased by $20 million in 2011, and the unpaid cost to provide Medicaid services increased by $8 million.

Charity care for low-income patients also increased in 2011 over 2010, from $35.3 million to $39.1 million, the Lee Memorial release stated. An additional $12 million was spent on community outreach, educational programs, and one-of-a-kind medical services.

The nonprofit Lee Memorial Health System is comprised of four acute care hospitals, including Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers, and two specialty hospitals, including the Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida. The system, in total, has 1,420 hospital beds and more than one million patient contacts a year.


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