Twin Falls County Sees High Number of Indigent Medical Cases

2013-01-20T02:00:00Z Twin Falls County Sees High Number of Indigent Medical CasesBy Melissa Davlin - Twin Falls Times-News

BOISE • You’re in a devastating car accident, have no insurance and don’t qualify for Medicaid. Where do you turn?

Increasingly, more and more Idahoans are turning to the Catastrophic Health Care Fund. Idaho counties and state governments provide a safety net for those with medical emergencies and no medical emergencies. Twin Falls has one of the highest numbers of cases in the Catastrophic Health Care fund, or CAT fund.

According to Roger Christensen, chairman of the Catastrophic Health Care program, Twin Falls County had 125 cases approved for the CAT fund, which is paid from state dollars. That number is the third highest in the state, second only to Kootenai and Ada counties.

In addition, Twin Falls County processed 929 medically indigent cases in its fiscal year 2012 and approved 372 of those, said Twin Falls County Commissioner Terry Kramer. Many of the applications were for chronic illnesses.

Why the high numbers? During a Monday presentation to the Legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, Christensen said he didn’t know, but speculated that it might be because of a high population of migrant workers and others who wouldn’t qualify for Medicaid.

Kramer said he didn’t know other counties’ circumstances, but said Twin Falls County may receive indigent cases from outlying counties because of its medical center and the Mustard Tree Clinic.

Statewide, the CAT fund saw huge increases in 2012, processing almost 2,000 more cases than it did in 2011 for a total of 6,491 for the year. Much of that can be attributed to a huge rise in mental health care, Christensen said.

Of the 929 in Twin Falls County, 140 of those were mental health, Kramer said.

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