Provena Covenant Medical Center, Urbana, Ill., reinstated two Medicare discounting programs, settling a longstanding lawsuit filed as a result of Provena ending the programs in 1998.
One program gives Medicare recipients with incomes of up to 120% of the federal poverty level a 100% discount on their portion of the bill, while the other gives discounts to Medicare recipients with incomes that are 120% to 300% of poverty levels, according to a statement from Provena Covenant.
Claudia Lennhoff, executive director of the community group that filed the suit, Champaign County Health Care Consumers, said the Provena Covenant programs weren't restarted in response to a demand for withdrawing the lawsuit, but resulted from a cooperative effort between the two parties. Settling the suit was more of a formality, she said.
A Chicago healthcare attorney, Charles MacKelvie, said he would be concerned about running afoul of federal regulations with new Medicare discounts. "CMS, HHS and the OIG are not on the same page. The problem for providers is they don't know what to do," MacKelvie said.
Mark Wiener, president of Provena Covenant, said they do not perceive that to be a problem with the programs. "We're confident that it is in full compliance with Medicare," Wiener said. Lennhoff said that Provena Covenant's CMS fiscal intermediary reviewed the program and Provena Covenant stepped back from providing its previous more generous discounting levels as a result.
The programs do not apply to other hospitals in the Mokena, Ill.,-based Provena Health System, Wiener said.