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Setting the record straight on payment
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I would like to set the record straight regarding a recent barb in which a reader questioned Monroe Clinic's commitment to serving patients regardless of their ability to pay. Other readers who have commented are correct; Monroe Clinic is not a free clinic. However, as a Catholic health ministry, we are committed to caring for the underserved.

Monroe Clinic offers a community (charity) care program for those residing in our service area, and discounts are available for those earning up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level. For example, a family of four earning $33,075 per year or less could qualify for free services, and discounts are available on a sliding scale for families of four earning up to $66,150 per year. We also offer a prompt payment discount and a discount for the uninsured. Together, these discounts equal 25 percent and are similar to the discounts we offer to insurance plans.

In 2009, through community care, community health education, and unreimbursed services, Monroe Clinic contributed more than $17 million in services to the community. Hundreds of families received free or reduced-fee care.

For anyone who would like to learn more about our billing practices or community care program, please visit our Web site,