I blogged recently about a friend who had severe pneumonia and a very high fever. He was treated at Valley View hospital here in Cedar City UT. They almost certainly saved his life. His original bill for the emergency room and three days in the hospital was $6,400, modest by many hospital standards. The hospital dropped the bill to $4,200 after realizing he and his wife don’t have insurance. But wait, there’s more.
Valley View is part of Intermountain Health, whose charter mandates they give aid to those in need by lowering the bill. My friends had financial reversals a while back, couldn’t afford insurance, and are working hard to get out of the hole. Intermountain doesn’t drop the bill just based on financial need, they also do it based on whether the person is deserving.
Our friends asked for more consideration and sent in their tax returns for the past few years. What happened was extraordinary. Intermountain lowered their entire bill to $350. My friend said he never gets speechless but this time he was.
In a similar vein, the Mormon Church has a private welfare system. If you are deemed deserving, they will take care of you. For example, I just learned of a Mormon here in Cedar City who needed a heart valve operation, and had no insurance. He wasn’t a particularly observant member but someone said, maybe you should ask your bishop. He did, the bishop said sure, and the church will pick up the bill. They also help in stopping foreclosures, provide assistance if say a breadwinner dies or is ill, and have gleaning days on their crop lands. On a specified day, if you need food, just take what you want. (BTW, the bishop doesn’t always say yes. Someone I know with a drug problem had burned one too many bridges and the bishop said no.)
Our friends are now volunteering for an organization that helps people confined to their homes because of medical problems. They are passing on what was given to them.