On Thursday, a number of private, not-for-profit hospitals signed on to treat uninsured people enrolled in San Francisco’s universal health care access program, expanding the effort beyond the city’s public health system, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Healthy San Francisco intends to provide care for all of the city’s 73,000 uninsured residents and will be paid for by a state grant, employer contributions and participant fees determined on a sliding scale based on income.
City officials said the move will help reduce the burden on San Francisco General Hospital.
Patient fees for using the not-for-profit hospitals will range from nothing to $250, with all of the fees going to Healthy San Francisco. The hospitals will account for the services as charity care, for which they receive tax breaks.
However, John Graham, director of the health care studies at the Pacific Research Institute, questioned the arrangement, suggesting that the hospitals were politically motivated.
Outside of San Francisco’s public health system, organizations participating in Healthy San Francisco include:
- California Pacific Medical Center;
- The Chinese Community Health Care Association;
- St. Francis Hospital;
- St. Mary’s Hospital; and
- UC-San Francisco Medical Center.
Mitch Katz, director of the Department of Public Health, said he is negotiating with Kaiser Permanente executives to try to bring Kaiser into the program (Knight, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/11).