Boone Hospital Emergency Room Visits May Cost More

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COLUMBIA - The Emergency Physicians of Mid-Missouri on staff at Boone Hospital Center are no longer in the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield network. According to hospital spokesman Jacob Luecke, when an Anthem member receives medical treatment from an Emergency Physicians doctor, the member's bill reflects out-of-network charges for those physician services.

"EPMM participates as an in-network provider with all other insurers who offer group health coverage in the area," Luecke said. "Services provided by Boone Hospital are billed as in-network, covering the facility charge, nursing services, equipment, medications and supplies."

The federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, or EMTALA, requires hospitals to screen and stabilize patients regardless of their ability to pay. This law also prohibits the hospital from posting any information about the insurance situation so patients won't refuse necessary emergency treatment. The physicians group is said to be negotiating a new agreement with Anthem. The hospital is hopeful that an agreement will be reached soon.