About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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In today’s world, there’s Medicare, and there’s everyone else

Medicare spends millions in the region each year.

As I worked on yesterday’s story about Medicare’s payments to local hospitals, I kept thinking about the tremendous amount of money that Medicare pays on behalf of local seniors for their medical care.

Consider this:

Mary Washington Hospital will lose $840,000 in Medicare reimbursements this year because its readmission rates are too high. Spotsylvania Regional will lose $16,000. Stafford Hospital will lose $11,300. These numbers represent a tiny fraction of the total money that the hospitals receive from Medicare each year.

At Mary Washington, officials estimated that they received $118 million from Medicare last year for both inpatient and outpatient care. This includes $105 million for Mary Washington Hospital and $13 million for Stafford Hospital. This represents nearly one-fourth of the company’s net patient revenue.

That’s $118 million for one hospital company for one year. And that doesn’t count what Medicare pays to Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital, Surgi-Center of Central Virginia, or local nursing homes, home health agencies, medical equipment companies or doctors.

Is anyone or anything more important to the health of Fredericksburg-area residents than Medicare?

(Monday’s article on Medicare and hospital readmissions rates can be found here.)