Disaster Planning: Financing a Burn Disaster, Where Do You Turn and What Are Your Options When Your Hospital Has Been Impacted by a Burn Disaster in the United States?

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Abstract

The cost associated with a single burn injured patient can be significant. The American healthcare system functions in part based on traditional market forces which include supply and demand. In addition, there are a variety of payer sources with disparate payment for the same services. Thus, when a group of patients with serious injuries needing complicated care are underinsured or uninsured, or lacks the ability to pay, the financial health of the organization providing the care can be undermined. When a medical disaster with significant numbers of burn injured patients occurs, the financial concerns can be compounded with this singular event. It is critical to be cognizant of the disaster-related financial resources available. Knowing where to turn and what may be available can help assure that the institution caring for this group of high cost patients does not simultaneously take on significant financial risk in the aftermath of the disaster. This article includes national (United States) financial data with respect to burn injury, and focuses on (United States) governmental financial resources during and after a disaster. This review includes identifying and discussing traditional financial support, as well as atypical but established programs where, during a disaster, health care institutions may be eligible for assistance to cover part or all of the associated costs.

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