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Family claims hospital tried to discharge loved one battling COVID-19

Judith Ellison-Roland
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Judith Ellison-Roland
Posted at 5:59 PM, Sep 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-18 19:34:04-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Judith Ellison-Roland, 68, is currently recovering from COVID-19 at Providence Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas.

While she lives in California, she was visiting family for her granddaugher's birthday and somehow contracted the virus during her stay.

She was admitted to the hospital on Aug. 17. According to Ellison-Roland's family, they received three calls to pick her up when the hospital tried to discharge her.

"I couldn’t believe the audacity of these people to feel and justify putting her out on the curb, knowing she is COVID positive," said Jacques Barber II, Ellison-Roland's son.

Barber said he called the hospital and was given this reason: "Her insurance wouldn’t cover for her to go further to get the post-care that she needs," Barber said. "The other reason why is because they said her breathing had gotten better and she doesn’t need to be in the hospital."

According to Barber, his mom has Health Net Medicare California Advantage and also has coverage through VA health care. Barber said the hospital told the family that her insurance did not cover the next steps in her care.

"They told us that she needs extended care and with that she’s going, we have to worry about her insurance and they told us that because of her insurance, because it’s a California-based insurance, that it would not be covered," Barber said. "I found that kind of hard to believe."

Providence Medical Center provided a statement to 41 Action News, which read in part:

"During the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen increased challenges and delays associated with patients who no longer require hospitalization and who are discharged as COVID positive. Response times from some insurance companies has been slower while the number of available beds at skilled and long-term care facilities accepting COVID-19 positive patients has decreased substantially."

Ellison-Roland remains at the hospital. Barber said his mom continues to test positive for COVID-19, and the family is working to determine what's next for her.

"So now we’re just sitting here in limbo, waiting to see who will take my mother in," Barber said.

Here is the full statement from Providence Medical Center:

While we cannot comment on specific patients due to HIPAA, we provide compassionate, high-quality healthcare. Patients are cared for and discharged by our medical teams based on clinical criteria and need. Once a patient is approved for discharge, our multi-disciplinary team develops a discharge plan that is tailored to the specific needs of the patient and the level of care required. Additionally, our team works with the patient’s insurance company to determine the best available options for the patient after leaving the hospital in accordance with their insurance plan benefits. This may include admission to a post- acute facility or home-based services and support.

During the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen increased challenges and delays associated with patients who no longer require hospitalization and who are discharged as COVID positive. Response times from some insurance companies has been slower while the number of available beds at skilled and long-term care facilities accepting COVID-19 positive patients has decreased substantially. However, during such delays patients always continue to receive the same level of care and are not discharged until an appropriate solution is found.

Our team of physicians and nurses provide high quality care for our patients, and we appreciate our entire staffs’ efforts to go above and beyond, especially during this year with the pandemic. Such efforts have led to Providence being named a Healthgrades 2020 America’s 250 Best Hospitals Award™ and making the Fortune/IBM Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals list.

In addition, the hospital is dedicated to patient safety. As a recipient of the Healthgrades 2020 Patient Safety Excellence AwardTM, Providence is placed among the top 5% of all short-term acute care hospitals reporting patient safety data as evaluated by Healthgrades and received a Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade A, which evaluates hospital safety data twice a year.

We are very proud of our laser focus and top scores in patient safety, quality outcomes and patient satisfaction.

Johnson County, KS
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