After the earthquake struck Haiti, there wasn't time to decide exactly what role South Florida hospitals would play in treating victims. Nor was there time to figure out how those facilities would be paid in instances where the victims were Haitian citizens. But three weeks after the devastating quake, there's finally some clarity about those questions.
Broward Health's public hospital system treated 97 patients who arrived from Haiti -- second only to Jackson Health System. At yesterday's meeting of the Broward Health board, CEO Frank Nask told commissioners that the district's hospitals began taking patients from Haiti without knowing how medical staff would be compensated for that care. Fortunately, U.S. health officials announced this week that their agencies would compensate those hospitals for care of Haitian earthquake victims at up to 110 percent of the rates paid for Medicare patients.
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According to figures released by local hospitals, 55 patients have been treated in Palm Beach County, including 25 children. As of January 30, there were 10 patients with earthquake injuries still hospitalized in the county.
Of the 97 patients spread through the Broward Health system, 60 have been treated at Broward General Medical Center. The district has discharged 152 patients, including 50 children. As of month's end, 47 adults and a dozen children remained hospitalized.
Nask told commissioners that the majority of the patients in Broward Health facilities are not Haitian but were foreign visitors.
South Broward's Memorial Healthcare System accepted 95 patients, 20 of whom are still being treated.