A Heritage of Loving Service: The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in Tucson
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Heritage: The Story of St. Mary's Hospital, 1880-1980
By Leo G. Bryne and Sister Alberta Cammack, C.S.J

Chapter II Modern Medical Complex

In 1965, Sister Julia Mary Farley was appointed Administrator of St. Mary's (1965-1971). She was to see many changes in health care and was to respond to the need of expanding St. Mary's facilities. Perhaps one of the most significant changes was to be the passage of Title XVIII, P.L. 92603 in 1966 when Medicare funds were made available for patients over 65 or for disabled persons who otherwise would not be able to afford medical care. As the hospital prepared for an influx of Medicare patients, a consultant was hired to examine procedures in all departments with a view toward the acquisition of a computer.

The first week under Medicare went smoothly with St. Mary's reporting 44 eligible to be covered by Medicare. The second week there were 84, and before long 24% of the beds were occupied by Medicare patients, It soon became evident, however, that Medicare patients could not remain in the hospital if they no longer required an acute care setting. There were additional provisions which limited payment for convalescent care to one hundred days with little or no provision for additional or long-term care. With the inception of Medicare, the Business Office had to change its procedures in billing Medicare patients, as reimbursement rates were different than those of other insurances. With Medicare also came the need for additional beds and employees and an increase in medical costs.

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