Health Department may charge fee

PLYMOUTH — During the Marshall County council meeting Monday morning, Wes Burden from the health department informed the council that the state of Indiana is pushing county health departments to apply for Medicaid funding. As a result, the health department may begin charging an $8 administration fee for each vaccine given. The fee would go to pay for supplies that go along with administering shots, not for the actual vaccines themselves, which are provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and are federally funded.
“This is a way for our department to provide for our needs,” said Susan Lechlitner, health department nurse, later. “Within a few years, if the economy turns around, things may go back to the way they were.”
Lechlitner also said that the department's costs for supplies are increasing, while their budget is staying the same.
“We order less (supplies), but pay the same amount for it,” said Lechlitner.
Medicaid will reimburse the county $8 for each shot given to Medicaid patients, therefore people receiving Medicaid will not need to pay the administration fee.
In addition, beginning July 1, 2011, the Marshall County health department will no longer give vaccines to people with other insurance that covers vaccines. This is according to guidelines from the state of Indiana and the CDC.
Lechlitner said that the only people who will be vaccinated by the health department are those with no insurance, Medicaid, or a cap on vaccines under their regular insurance. She also noted that the $8 administration fee is a small price to pay for vaccines that actually cost several hundred dollars in some cases.
“Some vaccines are very expensive,” said Lechlitner, continuing that the vaccines for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, as well as the meningitis and chicken pox vaccine, have a combined cost of approximately $250.
People coming to the health department for vaccines will be required to fill out paperwork stating that they are eligible to receive vaccinations under the new regulations. The health department is currently working on filling out paperwork for Medicaid funding, which the county attorney will review before they will begin charging the $8 fee. Burden noted that no person would be turned away because of inability to pay the $8.
“We cannot refuse vaccines to somebody who cannot pay,” said Burden.