Health

Texas hospitals prepare to pick up tab for uninsured COVID-19 patients

The fund known as the Health Resources and Services Administration COVID-19 Uninsured Program — created to help hospitals pay for the care of uninsured COVID patients — has dried up.

More than $3 billion in federal money has flowed to Texas health care providers in recent months to help pay for COVID-19 treatments, tests and vaccines for patients without health insurance, according to national health officials.

Of that, a tiny fraction — some $2.2 million — went to the local independent hospital in rural Titus County for treating patients during wave after overwhelming wave of the devastating virus in an area where 1 in 3 residents are uninsured.

But the 174-bed Titus Regional Medical Center in northeast Texas needed every penny it could get as it struggled to cover the sudden, skyrocketing expenses of the pandemic: paying staff competitive wages to keep them on the job, keeping up with federal safety rules and managing record-breaking numbers of patients pouring into the intensive care unit from a 150-mile radius, said CEO Terry Scoggin.

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