As a former physician and now a patient, I'm sympathetic to the problems of the sequestration on health care and the spiraling costs of care.
St. Josephs has almost a monopoly on health care in our county and has a special responsibility not to take advantage. It is disconcerting when patients find their bills increased when St. Josephs buys their physicians' practices. This happened when the oncology infusion center was moved to the hospital several years ago. More recently I experienced the same increase when the Northwest Cardiology was absorbed. My bill for a routine visit almost doubled with "facility fees." The idea that because a hospital can charge that it should seems bogus particularly for a "non-profit" institution.
St. Joes also bills those without insurance at higher rates than people with insurance for the same service. It makes going to the hospital a little like a used car lot where prices are at the whim of the seller except this involves sick patients, more money, and no discretion or ability to shop. It is a fact that those who are billed the most are least able to pay.
Yes I know and give great credit to St. Joes charitable care and would hope that the dollar amount of such care is based on the discounted amount paid to insurers rather than the inflated amount billed to those without insurance.