Centra: Consider The Uninsured

Published 4:32 pm Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Editor, The Herald:

Centra is a nonprofit health system that serves the greater Central Virginia area. As a community-based organization, we take all comers, regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay. Those of us involved with Centra are proud to offer high quality care to all in this manner.

A current political hot potato in Virginia is whether or not to accept federal money in order to expand insurance coverage. This expansion can come either through expanding Medicaid or perhaps through a private insurance alternative. Many large dollar amounts have been mentioned in legislative discussions, but I would like to comment specifically about the effect on Centra and our local community should these dollars be declined.

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If insurance coverage is not expanded, many local citizens will remain in the “no insurance” trap. This situation is very detrimental to the health of those involved, resulting in a lower quality of life and excessive emergency room visits. The emergency room is neither an effective nor an efficient primary care provider.

From a financial standpoint, the estimated annual impact to Centra for not accepting federal funding is $17.3 million. This large sum will unfortunately be made up by higher premiums paid by employers and individuals that purchase private insurance.

Centra would ask our elected representatives to carefully consider the financial and human cost of potentially declining this funding for our community.

Walker Sydnor


Centra Board of Directors