Updated: 07/21/2013 7:13 PM KSTP.com By: Jay Kolls
Ramsey County taxpayers give $1.7 million to Regions Hospital, but the money ends up with HealthPartners, the HMO that runs the hospital.
The Ramsey County Board appropriates the money every year even though HealthPartners has $800 million dollars in reserve bank accounts, according to records provided by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
HealthPartners is also part of a federal investigation into Medicaid rate setting in Minnesota. Yet, the Ramsey County Board gives to the HMO to "offset the cost of indigent care."
Ramsey County Board member, Jim McDonough tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the county has a "partnership with Regions and this helps give indigent (low-income) people quality health care."
When KSTP asked McDonough why they supplement HealthPartners with taxpayers' money, even though the corporation has $800 million dollars in the bank, McDonough said "it is a discussion we should have in the future, maybe."
HealthPartners declined our request for an interview but issued a statement that says, in part, "Regions gave uninsured and under-insured people $6 million in care last year."
But, when we asked HealthPartners why they did not use some of their $800 million in reserves to cover that cost, we did not get an answer. And when we asked the HMO if it was going to continue accepting the $1.7 million dollars every year, we did not get an answer to that question either.