Health department hikes fees

Medical clinic and dental clinic clients pay more, federal gov’t pushing signups for ‘ObamaCare’
Tom Jackson
Feb 16, 2014


The Erie County Health Department has hiked its fees for its poorest clients, the ones who don’t have Medicaid or any form of private insurance.

The department’s nominal fees, its minimum fees for services, have been raised from $15 to $25 for its primary medical clinic, and from $25 to $35 for people getting service at the dental clinic.

Shari Greene, director of primary care and clinic services for the Erie County Health Department, said the federal government’s Health Resources Services Administration recently carried out a site visit and recommended Erie County raise its fees.

“We were on the low side,” Greene said.

The federal government wants federally-funded clinics such as the health department’s to charge a reasonable fee as part of the effort to get everyone to sign up for health insurance, said Pete Schade, Erie County’s health commissioner. In addition to the health exchanges offered by “Obama Care,” Ohio is one of the states that has expanded Medicaid access.

“They’re not going to do it if they can walk into places like this and pay $15” Schade said.

Greene said the number of patients who pay only the nominal fees is the 20 percent to 25 percent range, but that’s expected to shrink as more patients obtain health insurance.

The Ohio Association of Community Health Centers represents local health clinics that serve low-income people. Sandusky has two such clinics — the health department’s, and Family Health Services of Erie County, which is based at Firelands Regional Medical Center but has a board separate from the hospital’s. Fremont also has a clinic, Community Health Services.

Randy Runyon, president of the association, said each community has to decide for itself what fee to charge.

“You want it high enough so it doesn’t encourage overuse of the health center. If it’s free, people will just come every day” he said.

But the fee has to be low enough it doesn’t cause a significant barrier to care, he said.

The $25 fee at the Erie County Health Department is a pretty common figure, Runyon said.

Family Health Services of Erie County charges a nominal fee of $12, said Wilson Forney, CEO of the agency.

The agency has not had its site visit from HRSA, he said. It’s likely the agency will bring up the fee when it carries out its visit, he said.

The nominal fees at Community Health Services in Fremont are $25 for the medical clinic and $30 for the dental clinic, said Joe Liszak, the CEO for the clinic. Four years ago, those fees were the national average fees, he said.

Liszak said his clinic has not raised its fees for several years. When the Great Recession hit in 2008 and it became obvious many people were headed for hard times, the decision was made to keep the fees the same, he said.



Re: "If it’s free, people will just come every day”

Come on! Bring on that "free" govt. single payer!


This is nothing less than blackmail/extortion from our Federal Government to have $$$ routed their way.


Do you think? I'm waiting for coasterfan to get on here go balls deep on Barry for saving the world!

The Big Dog's back

I don't understand you right wingnuts. 1st you want personal responsibility, now you want the rest of us to pick up the tab. Blacktracking again.


I seriously doubt you could pick up the tab on a glass of water and if you could you would ask the government to cover it anyways.


Re: "Blacktracking again."

Everything derpy learned, he got from Bill Maher. lol


I have issue with them raising fees because the Feds told them to. It's our federal government pushing their agendas right down our throats.


balls deep? ha! that made my day!




He has a thing for balls!


Only your mommys


he wont recognize her when he gets home. I shaved her back.


Best comment ever babymomma


I don't understand people that think everyone is either a liberal or a right wingnut if they don't agree with you. I do this this increase was put in place to force those people to sign up for Obamacare though.

JD's picture

Didn't the health department just get a good chunk of money. But it will not be good for Obama care so charge more and if they don't start signing up then raise it again and keep raising it till they start.


And didn't the health dept levy get renewed in November? And didn't they all get raises after the renewal?


America .... land of the free ..... free to do whatever the Government says we can. And if you don't want their "care" they will force you into it or PAY the consequences.




If our goverment cared about the needs of their citizens, they would be DECREASING the cost of living as apposed to INCREASING the cost of survival.


Some people choose to go to the Health Dept. to save money even though they can afford coverage. I do think the goal is to increase Obamacare signups but so what?! You can't just talk about personal responsibility you also have to be about it!


Yea, because that's the Obama Administrations goals, to make people self sufficient. They can't even be self sufficient, that's why our debt is skyrocketing!


Re: "I do think the goal is to increase Obamacare signups but so what?!"

So the feds tell 'em to raise rates in order to force 'em into that bureaucratic mess?

THAT'S so kind of 'em isn't it?


Re: "personal responsibility,"

You don't give a crap about personal responsibility, you want the collectivist program of single payer, don't you?


I'll repeat it again:

Re: "If it’s free, people will just come every day”

Come on! Bring on that "free" govt. single payer!

Let's bankrupt America together!


0-bamas biggest achievement is failure.

JMOP's picture

Isn't the truth.


This should serve as a lesson to those who trust the government whole heartedly with their health and any other service they claim to be able to provide. Those that perpetuate the myth that the government can provide are the same people who have made it rich off the taxpayer and buddies in power. The left is especially guilty of this as they promise a better way of life and "Free" services but in actuality they need the poor, They want more people to be poor to boost their voter base who actually believes they will get help from them. The left are leeches that drain entire societies of not only their independence and self sustainability but their culture and pride. We can see this in action in Chicago and Detroit. Chicago is actually proud of being a corrupt cesspool where everyone dependent on the government and Detroit is just as ignorant when it comes to it.


"I do think the goal is to increase Obamacare signups but so what?!" So what??? let me explain "so what" ...... what will the government decide we "need" next .... maybe the next great governmental idea will be of great harm to you .... but so what. Your attitude reminds me of the poem First They Came:

"In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."

-- by Martin Niemöller,


Coercion, corruption.

Dr. Information

Numbers are still fuzzy as heck and this administration will never release the real numbers. They SAY we have 3 million people who have logged on, created an account and have the options to pick whatever plan they want. After that, there is a real dark cliff of nowhere because we do not know how many have actually paid. Estimates are that its really really really really low. Even if the 3 million signed up and paid, they are way short of its goals. Still 30+ million will be uninsured when the April 1 deadline hits, which Im sure will be pushed back illegally by Obama yet again.
Our government has never had the ability to run anything, except run things into the ground.


The numbers are inflated yet democrats praise it as being a success story. 25 million lost coverage so 0-bamacare is in the hole.