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Customer Service

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WellStar Kennestone Hospital

Customer Complaint Process

HISTORY

In 1946, Congress passed the Hospital Survey and Construction Act, sponsored by Senators Lister Hill and Harold Burton, widely known as the Hill-Burton Act. Originally designed to provide Federal grants to modernize hospitals, facilities receiving these federal funds agreed to provide free or reduced charge medical services to persons unable to pay. There are several basic requirements that every Hill-Burton hospital or other facility must comply with to fulfill the community service obligation:

* A person residing in the Hill-Burton facility's service area has the right to medical treatment at the facility without regard to race, color, national origin or creed.

* Hill-Burton facilities must participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs unless they are ineligible to participate.

* Hill-Burton facilities must make arrangements for reimbursement for services with principal State and local third-party payors that provide reimbursement that is not less than the actual cost of the services.

* A Hill-Burton facility must post notices informing the public of its community service obligations in English and Spanish. If 10 percent or more of the households in the service area usually speak a language other than English or Spanish, the facility must translate the notice into that language and post it as well.

* A Hill-Burton facility may not deny emergency services to any person residing in the facility's service area on the grounds that the person is unable to pay for those services.

* A Hill-Burton facility may not adopt patient admissions policies that have the effect of excluding persons on grounds of race, color, national origin, creed or any other ground unrelated to the patient's need for the service or the availability of the needed service.

The community service obligation does not require the facility to make non-emergency services available to persons unable to pay for them.

WellStar Kennestone Hospital opened on June 12, 1950 as a Hill-Burton facility with 105 licensed inpatients beds and a full-time staff of 50. In the mid-1980s, Kennestone acquired Windy Hill Hospital, and in the 1990s Kennestone joined forces with other local hospitals to form Northwest Georgia Health System. This system would later become the foundation of Promina Health System before changing its name to WellStar Health System. Today, Kennestone has 633 licensed inpatient beds (where 487 beds are currently set-up and staffed and another 140 beds are currently under construction), five outpatient imaging centers and a staff of more than 3,000 (fig. 1).

SERVICES AND MARKET

Serving a four-county region in the suburbs of northwest Atlanta, WellStar Kennestone Hospital treats more than 250,000 patients annually. Its emergency room ranks as the state's busiest, and handles more heart attack cases than any other hospital in Georgia.

Services provided by the not-for-profit hospital include:

* Cancer Program

- Clinical Trials

- Cancer Imaging Center

- Technologies such as IMRT and HDR (also approved for Cyber Knife)

* Cardiology

- Electrophysiology, Diagnostic and Interventional Catheterization, Open Heart

* Disease Management

* Emergency Services

* Medical Imaging

- Five Outpatient Centers

* Neonatal

* Rehabilitation

* Surgical Services

* Vascular Institute

* Women's Services

- Cancer,

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