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March 19, 1938

Medical News

JAMA. 1938;110(12):903-907. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.02790120045015

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Admission and Collection System Attacked in Charges of County Hospital Graft.—  A grand jury investigation of the system of admission and collections at the Los Angeles County General Hospital is suggested in an article by Dr. George H. Kress, published in the February issue of California and Western Medicine. Dr. Kress takes exception to the practice of billing all indigents for hospitalization charges. In addition he terms the amounts charged "stupid and outrageous." He charges that since July 1, 1937, when a new system of admission and collections was introduced at the hospital, the administration has overstepped its bounds in billing all indigents. Prior to July 1, billing was restricted to those hospital patients for whom bills were recommended by the hospital social service department. In answer to an inquiry from Dr. Kress the superintendent of charities stated: "It was felt that it would be more equitable to bill all patients and then arrange payments in accordance with financial ability, rather than bill only a restricted group selected on the basis of immediate financial ability." Charges were made to conform, so far as possible, to the actual cost to the county of providing care, it was said. Under the new system, the client

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