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August 10, 2022

Disappointed in CALSTAR Coverage

Two years ago, the Free Lance ran a story criticizing the
hospital and emergency room physicians for not discounting their
fees to uninsured patients and local health insurance plans.
Editor,

Two years ago, the Free Lance ran a story criticizing the hospital and emergency room physicians for not discounting their fees to uninsured patients and local health insurance plans. The hospital and the contracted emergency physician organization worked together to ensure discounts were implemented and that the ER physician group enrolled as providers for those insurance plans most likely to benefit San Benito County residents. Many of those physicians live locally and were willing to make a sacrifice to maintain the health of the community.

I was disappointed to see a flagrantly one-sided story as the headline news in your paper a couple of weeks ago regarding a feud between the hospital and an out of county transport helicopter service, CALSTAR. CALSTAR has a guaranteed contract with 911 service. If they are closest, they get the transport and you don’t get to choose. They bill what they want, upwards of $18,000, on average 20% more than Stanford does, and they refuse to discount their fees to the indigent and uninsured or under-insured. In addition, they have refused to contract with local insurance providers. This is an unhealthy relationship for our community.

The Free Lance and Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital are both integral parts of a small community with a fragile economy. I hope that they can develop a more positive and mutually beneficial relationship in the future. We depend on each other here.

Peter Coelho M, President,

San Benito County Medical Society

Staff Report
A staff member edited this provided article.

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