Manatee Memorial Hospital halts non-emergency procedures, surgeries for uninsured patients

Manatee Memorial Hospital, the largest hospital in the county, has canceled all non-emergency procedures and surgeries for those uninsured.

"Quite a few of our clients were caught in the middle," said Shannon Hoyt, executive director of We Care Manatee.

An email from Manatee Memorial Hospital announced the end of services for uninsured patients. It’s a move that’s impacting hundreds of patients enrolled in Manatee County’s health care plan, Good County, and We Care referrals.

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Now, non-profits are working with Manatee County to find solutions.

"There is a little forgotten group of people who their lives matter and their health matters and the hospital is making their for profit decisions and the county is helping the best they can. It has shown me how much we are needed here," said Hoyt.

During a Manatee County Commission meeting in April, Manatee Memorial Hospital CEO Tom McDougal told county commissioners the Good County program was not self-sustaining and was costing his for-profit hospital millions of dollars.

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"We did a deep dive on this data from 2023. Keep in mind we received about 2.7 million for participating. Our actual costs were almost 9 million for this care. I simply cannot afford to keep doing this without being compensated for it. It takes away care from other patients," said McDougal.

Manatee County is exploring other options, including community care. Commissioners will vote next week on how to allocate the funds to other medical care partners.

"The hospital has not had a contract since 2022, so it really is just reallocating the unincubated dollars back into the community to get people access to healthcare," said Deputy Director of Public Safety James Crutchfield.

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Hoyt said they’ve been able to find solutions for imaging and lab work, but surgeries remain on hold as they work to find a remedy.

"There’s definite problem solving happening. I don’t know how it’ll all fall out and look, but I do have hope. Unfortunately, there is just this middle time where people are really being effective," she said.

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