The Mat-Su Health Foundation’s Fancy New Headquarters (and how we all paid for it via the high cost of medical care)

Photos of the new building – from front, side, and back.

Here is a Press Release from the MSHF about their new building which is opening in the Spring of 2018:

MAT-SU HEALTH FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES GROUNDBREAKING EVENT

09-Jun-2017

Wasilla, Alaska— The Mat-Su Health Foundation is hosting a ceremonial groundbreaking event for its new building on Tuesday, June 13 at 11 am. The public is invited.

Mat-Su Health Foundation Building Details

Project: Multi-tenant facility consisting of two building blocks connected by a center core. In addition to housing the Mat-Su Health Foundation, the project has been designed to build community by devoting space to programmatic uses, including the creation of a Community Resource Center Network, where Mat-Su residents can seek support, information, and referral to local services.

Location: 777 N. Crusey Street, Wasilla
Square Footage: 46,000
Site Size: 3.71 acres
Completion: Spring 2018

Investment in the
Community: $9 million

Speakers: Vern Halter, Mayor, Matanuska-Susitna Borough
Bert Cottle, Mayor, City of Wasilla
Elizabeth Ripley, CEO, Mat-Su Health Foundation
Scott Johannes, Board Chair, Mat-Su Health Foundation

Architects Alaska is providing design services. Other contractors include FE Contracting, Inc., RSA Engineering, Inc., And PND Engineers, Inc.

*************************************************************************************Update – May 2018 – Grand Opening.  Photos from Mat-Su Borough:

WHY DID THE MSHF NEED TO BUILD A FANCY NEW BUILDING? 

THEY DON’T!!!  They have only 15 employees! (They used to have fewer but they keep hiring new employees. They are now hiring a building manager for the new building at up to 95K according to a new ad in the Frontiersman.)  There is empty commercial office space all over the Mat-Su Valley.   How much space does the MSHF need? They just need a few offices and a conference room.

WHY IS THE MSHF SPENDING SO MUCH MONEY ON THEMSELVES? HOW MUCH STAFF TIME HAS BEEN TAKEN UP BY THIS BUILDING PROJECT?

This organization has little to no transparency.  Their monthly board meetings are CLOSED to the public and the public is no longer allowed to vote for the board members.  Thus, there is very little public oversight of this organization.  All the public is legally allowed to review are the MSHF’s yearly tax returns which are not detailed.

DO WE REALLY NEED A PHILANTHROPIC HUB?

NO. We are in a recession and most of the non-profits here in the Mat-Su Valley already have places to meet.  The new Wasilla library (which is located right across from the new MSHF building) has free community meeting rooms.  So does MTA in Palmer.

HOW IS THE MSHF PAYING FOR THIS BUILDING?

The MSHF is the co-owner of the Mat-Su Regional Hospital.  It owns 35%.  While the MSHF is a non profit (technically and legally, the MSHF is the old “Valley Hospital Association” which is one of the oldest non profits in the Valley), the hospital’s majority owner is a for profit entity.

The MSHF’s revenue comes from its share of profits from the hospital. (It also has invested some of its millions from this profit sharing arrangement.)  The MSRMC is one of the most expensive hospitals in the entire country and it is the only hospital in the Mat-Su Valley.

Thus, money pours into the MSHF with no fundraising required.  Some years, the MSHF has revenues of over $20 million.  The MSHF is supposed to use this money to promote health and wellness in our community.  This was part of the agreement made when the people of the Mat-Su Valley (the members of the Valley Hospital Association and any resident can be a member) voted to close our small non profit hospital located in Palmer and merge with a for profit company to build a new regional hospital.

So, essentially, the MSHF’s fancy and expensive building is being funded by the people who obtain and pay for expensive medical treatment at the Mat-Su Regional hospital (either through self pay and/or private insurance and by all of us taxpayers footing the massive bills for Medicaid.)

Here are some stories about the high costs of medical care at the MSRMC.  I posted this query on a local Facebook group on January 16, 2018:

“Survey. I am conducting a survey about medical care costs. Has anyone used the Mat-Su Regional Hospital (E.R. or otherwise) lately and did you feel that you were charged a fair price? How much were you charged? Private pay or insurance?”

Here are some of the responses:

“I used them back in November, insurance used. I saw the statement and was charged for “extended stay” when I was there for a few hours. Don’t feel like my insurance was charged fairly.  Total was almost 7 grand, wasn’t given any medication. Just a normal blood panel and a CT scan. I just took another look at the bill, CT was $3440. Charged for “extended visit” for $2200. *intense eyeroll* ”

“Our last stay, we had to pay out of pocket of $800 for emergency services (after insurance) We never even had a room 🙄 $400 just for the doctor/physician to say hi basically. Then another $400 for fees. The visit was for a dog bite, it happened at night so nothing else was open. We stayed until after midnight so we were charged for TWO ER visits! I’m disputing the charges now, but I find this ridiculous, especially considering we never even had a room. They stuck us in the hallway with a chair and took forever to bandage up my son’s arm(after having to ask for bandages) causing for the extended stay. $3706 before insurance. We were billed 3 charges for X-rays that were done once. Matsu regional is such a crap show it’s not even funny.”

“When I was 16 I went into May-Su Regional for extreme period pain and was hemorrhaging. They gave me a single shot, and “special underwear” for the bleeding. They helped in no way shape or form and ended up going to a OB/GYN specialist.  My bill for being in the ER for 5 hours was 11,000.  Must have been God’s tears in that single shot. Also, I had no insurance and would be on a payment plan for cash. It took me 4 years to pay it off. That was just one of many endeavors of my teens. I’m 22 now and have 14,000 still to pay. I’m homeless and working night shift and doing what I can in the day.  The medical system literally ruined my life. I finally got Medicaid last month after being denied year after year.”

“My wife had back surgery after 10 years of pain. We had everything approved through our insurance company and had to pay 3000.00 before we could have the surgery. This was 2 Nov ago. Fast forward a few months, we get a bill for $40,000 dollars because they did other things in the surgery that wasn’t part of the approval. We were told that the insurance considered it experimental and we had to pay. Between the hospital and the insurance, they just blame the other. The hospital still wants their money.”

“They double the cost if you need a payment plan then add interest. If you call them to make arrangements they will give you 7 days and about 1/2 the billed price.”

“I had my appendix out a few years back and the first thing I saw was that while in recovery they gave me a Percocet, charged me $36 for 1, I got an entire prescription of them for $8….I have no insurance so thankfully with charity care they wiped all but my anesthesiologist bill so at least that was nice.”

“I just got my statement from the hospital for gallbladder removal surgery. No it’s not fair at all. They charged me $200 for a urine pregnancy test 🙄 on top of a slew of other charges. $24K total. I can’t wait to see what insurance will cover.”

“I got quotes for a procedure for my son, he needed his ears cleaned by his ENT and he was so young they were going to have to put him under. For a 20 minute procedure Mat-Su Reg quoted $14,000, and 50% off if I could pay with in 7 days of the procedure. Providence quoted $2300 before their cash discount of 30% off and I could make payments. We ended up using Creekside Surgery center for $500.”

“Charged over $3k for tests that would’ve cost no more than $200 in NC….had insurance but since they have a percent of charge contract still cost me $2500 (all went to my deductible)..note this was not ER but just outpatient lab (only one vial of blood was taken.)”

“I’ve had to use a couple times over the past few year. Recently was last year. I was self pay, went in because my ear was throbbing, no one was there from what I could see, after 3 hours my ear drum erupted in the waiting room. Finally got me back, no pain meds(not that I was asking for any), no medical in any level, a very small bottle of some drops that numb that ear tissue, and $4500 bill. Unless I’m dying I’ll drive to Anchorage.”

“Self pay. This is just the bills from MSRMC. This isn’t including anesthesia, or the labs that were conducted through Cellnetix Labs, or my primary care provider. I always quietly screams at these bills. This was for 3-1 hour observations and a 24hr stay.”

amount due matsu regional

“I received wound care from the outpatient building. They would charge $400 for a fifteen minute visit that used $4 worth of materials.”

“Spent a couple hours in ER last week and had blood work and CT. Bill was $6500.”

“When I had my thumb injury it was an emergency so we had no choice but to go to matsu the er visit alone cost 10,000 and that was after I got all the bills for the “extended er stay” and everything else.. and mind you I opted out of all the crazy high pain Meds. In the end after all the bills and doctors and visits it cost almost 20,000 all for a snapped tendon in my thumb 😵😵😵   Oh and that was AFTER insurance.”

“My insurance was charged $1000 for each suture when I lacerated my hand in October. That does not include the cost of xrays, doctors fees or medication. Those were billed separately. Plus, I waited in a communal exam room with an elderly male patient for 5 hours before my hand was sutured. Not happy at all.”

“Hell No I was charged 3600 for signing my name and 700 for blood work for thyroid that cost me 200 through someone else RIP OFF…”

“Took my kid to the ER in August. We were there less than 30 minutes and after insurance our portion of the bill was more than $500. They literally did nothing.”

“I was put in a hall way left there . Two X-rays and back to a hallway no pillow blanket nothing two Tylenol for pain 7000.”

“I went to the ER in December because I was in so much pain, I thought I had appendicitis. It turned out I actually had a kidney stone. I told them upfront that I was self-pay and not to do anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary. They did a CT scam, which was almost $3500, and the ER time was almost $2500 for 4.5 hours. They are so inefficient, and when they said someone would be right with me to take me to the CT scan, it was nearly an hour later that it actually happened. In addition to some pain meds, a contrast by IV for the CT scan, they charged me almost $160 for a urine pregnancy test. My total bill for that visit was over $10,000. I feel it’s definitely overpriced, and inefficient use of patients’ time. I’ve heard the ER time is charged per hour, and I don’t know if that is fact, but if so, they really milk it out so they can charge a ridiculous amount for not very quality service.”

 

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One thought on “The Mat-Su Health Foundation’s Fancy New Headquarters (and how we all paid for it via the high cost of medical care)

  1. Caren April 12, 2018 / 8:29 am

    It used to be the norm for people to say, “if I’m unconscious, take me to Anchorage”. Providence would be the term to use now.
    Mat Valley Regional advertises a 30 minute or less emergency room wait time. Since they are for profit, we should be able to deduct all time AFTER that otherwise they broke an advertising law.
    I avoid it at all costs because they have no compassion for the uninsured or Medicare recipients.

    Liked by 1 person

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