Commentary & Opinion
Health Insurance Companies Should Reimburse Emergency Departments That Provide HIV Tests, Opinion Piece Says
September 24, 2007
Health insurance companies should reimburse emergency departments that provide HIV tests so that the tests become a routine part of medical care as recommended by CDC, Jeremy Brown, research director at George Washington University Medical Center's Department of Emergency Medicine, writes in a New York Times opinion piece (Brown, New York Times, 9/22).
Because of a lack of funding, almost no hospitals offer routine HIV testing in EDs, Brown writes. According to Brown, insurers typically reimburse ED care based on the final diagnosis. For example, if a patient had a sprained ankle, the insurer will cover a fixed amount, but that amount typically does not cover unrelated services, such as an HIV test.
Brown says, "If health insurers reimbursed emergency rooms a mere $40 in addition to the usual medical charges for every patient tested, HIV screening programs ... would be self-sufficient." He concludes, "Unless we compel insurance companies to pay for these simple, proven, relatively inexpensive tests, ... [CDC's] major public health initiative will amount to nothing" (New York Times, 9/22).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.