More than 2,400 Metro employees have taken part in a year-old incentive program that offers them access to Metro General Hospital without incurring out-of-pocket expenses such as co-pays and deductibles.
The Metro Council approved the Metro Employee Healthcare Incentive plan  in October 2008 as a way to increase the patient intake at the city’s safety-net health facilities operated by the Metro Hospital Authority, including General Hospital, Bordeaux Long-term Care and the Knowles Home Assisted Living & Adult Day Services. The program officially went into effect at the beginning of 2009.
Under the initiative, Metro employees enrolled in the self-insured plans of Metro Government, along with their dependents, can use the hospital authority’s services and be exempt from co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles.
“It’s been a success,” Jason Boyd, interim CEO of the hospital authority, told the council during last week’s mid-year budget report. “We see about 50 new Metro employees a month that come and touch our facilities that had never been there before. That’s a significant number.”
The spike in Metro employee patients has resulted in $3.1 million in gross revenues, according to Boyd, netting the hospital authority more than $1 million. Overall, the authority has seen revenue from patients increase by $10 million from the previous year.
Hospital authority leaders and Metro Finance Director Richard Riebeling have said the incentive program is a big reason why the authority is facing a $1.49 million deficit for the fiscal year, a considerably lower figure than in the past.
Budget woes last year led At-large Councilman Jerry Maynard, attorney Gregg Ramos and others to spearhead a campaign to ensure adequate funding for the authority’s medical facilities. Some called it a campaign to “Save Metro General Hospital.”
Maynard, the council’s most outspoken Metro General supporter, said this winter he turned to Metro General for health treatment when he thought he was having a heart attack.
“I went to Metro General, and I received fantastic service,” Maynard said.
As the city’s safety net hospital, Metro General absorbs more than $67 million in uncompensated care each year.