SPRINGFIELD, Mo.–A north Springfield woman is worried that she won’t be able to get the mental health treatment she needs anymore. This comes after she received a letter from Burrell Behavioral Health detailing changes to how the agency will collect co-payments.
The woman who doesn’t want to be identified says she received a letter in the mail outlining different payment options, but she says the option she qualifies for will now mean she has to pay her $40 co-pay up front or she won’t be able to see the doctor.
“They’re saying I’m sorry if you can’t afford to come in to see us I’m sorry, but we’re not going to treat you no matter what and that’s what they’re saying,” says the patient.
The patient received a letter from Burrell stating that the new payment transition begins December 3rd and will become effective on February 4th 2019. As a self pay client, the patient says the letter will mean she has to pay her $40 co-pay and balance due at time of service. The letter also says Burrell will gladly help clients enroll in a payment plan for their balance due.
“I was on the phone for several hours talking to different people. One says this ‘no we would never deny you treatment, but yes we would if you don’t have your co-pay, you can’t be seen’ ” says the patient.
Matt Lemon with Burrell says that their policy hasn’t changed. They’re just formalizing what’s already in place and if people need financial help, they will accommodate them.
“If that gradual pay, that payment plan is something a client is going to need, our financial department and staff is certainly willing to work with them on that,” says Lemon.
The patient says that didn’t apply to her when going to her appointment today.
“I had to borrow the money because I needed refills on the medication,” says the patient.
Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the patient is afraid of not being able to afford her meds to treat her past depression.
“I was so depressed messed up in my head that I could not function at all. I couldn’t take care of my bills. I didn’t even take care of myself because I was so severely depressed,” says the patient.
Because of the mixed messages the patient says she’s received from Burrell Health, she will be seeking treatment elsewhere.
“This is the icing on the cake, this is it, I’m done. I’m just like I’m over it, I can’t, they can’t keep messing with my head,” says the patient.
If you’re on Medicaid, according to Burrell, you won’t see any changes in your payment process.
If you’re not, Burrell offers a sliding fee scale or a financial hardship waiver, but in this woman’s case, she’s a self pay client.
Burrell says it will continue to work with all of their patients in making their financial payments.