RIVERSIDE: Supervisors Ratify Hospital Rate Hikes

RIVERSIDE – Riverside County supervisors today approved a range of fee increases for diagnostic procedures, health records searches and other services provided by the Riverside University Health System.

In a 4-0 vote — with Supervisor Marion Ashley away from the dais — the Board of Supervisors authorized what will be the first such fee adjustments in nearly four years.

Since that time, changes in the consumer price index, county employees’ salaries and actions by the state have driven up the county’s expenses, requiring commensurate fee increases in support of clinical operations, according to RUHS Director of Public Health Sarah Mack.

RUHS documents posted to the board’s policy agenda indicated that costs for a number of procedures will be unchanged under the revised fee schedule, and that the increases sought by RUHS were in line with the “standard pricing and strategy recommended by the National Association of Community Health Centers.”

Some of the fees assessed for laboratory screening procedures will be hiked.

A salmonella culture will go from $16 to $19; a cryptosporidium/giardia culture from $16 to $38; a hepatitis A antibody screening from $18 to $23; a blood lead screening from $22 to $25; a norovirus lab from $25 to $41; an HIV antigen/antibody test from $19 to $28; a rubella screening from $23 to $29; and a West Nile virus blood test from $16 to $34.

There will be entirely new fees established for polymerase chain reaction tests to confirm the presence of measles and the Zika virus — $41 and $72, respectively, according to agency documents.

The per-hour rate for lactation counseling at the 10 RUHS clinics and the Riverside University Medical Center in Moreno Valley will go from $90 to $113, according to the new fee schedule. The “birth and beyond” class for new parents will go from $244 to $300 per participant.

Vital records management is included in the revised schedule. Obtaining a certified copy of a birth certificate will now cost $28, compared to $20 previously, and a death certificate will cost $21, compared to $16 under the existing fee regime.

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