Our Financial Assistance Team Is There When You Need Them Most

man in a light purple button down shirt with his arms crossedOur Financial Assistance Team Jumped Into Action When Mark Was Suddenly Hospitalized.

Mark Palmeri had been suffering with worsening abdominal pain for weeks, but couldn’t afford a visit to the doctor. One day his abdominal pain was so bad that Mark went to the emergency room at BayCare’s Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, where doctors found a blockage in his colon and a severe case of diverticulitis. There was talk of an extended hospitalization. 

Mark felt desperate. He was in terrible pain, but he had no money. He didn’t have health insurance because he couldn’t afford the premiums. How would he pay hospital bills? Then Kathy Bell walked into his hospital room. Kathy is a caseworker in BayCare’s Financial Assistance department, which identifies hospital patients who are uninsured or under-insured, assesses their financial situation, and if they qualify, helps them with their hospital bills through a variety of funding programs. She knew BayCare could help Mark.

For 15 years, Kathy has sat at patients’ bedsides listening to their stories during their most vulnerable moments. Hearing about people’s struggles and how quickly their fortunes can change has made her a better person, she says – less judgmental, more understanding about life’s ups and downs.

After a week in the hospital, Mark was discharged feeling much better. His hospital bill was waived. BayCare even gave him a letter to take to each of his doctors informing them that he had qualified for assistance with his hospital bill.

Watch Mark's Story