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Non-emergency ER patients to pay at GA medical center

CovNews, November 12, 2012

Newton Medical Center will begin charging a $150 deposit to patients who don't have a true emergency condition yet still request care from the hospital's emergency room. Patients with insurance will be required to pay their co-pay or deductible. The move is being made to deter people, particularly the uninsured, who would otherwise abuse the ER by treating it as a primary care facility, according to hospital officials. The hope is to reduce unpaid medical bills and streamline the ER for true emergency patients, said Newton Medical spokeswoman Linda Moseley. So far in 2012, 12.5 % of visitors to Newton Medical's ER were not truly emergency cases, according to chief financial officer Troy Brooks. About a quarter of all ER visitors are uninsured, according to previous numbers provided by officials.