Health Dept. fee hike approved

Published 8:32 am Tuesday, March 1, 2011

JACKSON — Fees are going up at the Northampton County Health Department, including vaccines that were previously free of charge.

Last week, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners approved new clinic rates effective today (Tuesday).

According to information provided by Northampton County Health Director Sue Gay, state supplied vaccine is no longer available free of charge to children who are insured, thus placing the burden of purchasing vaccines on the agency. The reason behind the vaccines no longer being offered free is due to state budget cuts.

“It is now the responsibility of the county, except for those who meet the eligibility standard as it relates to no other payer source except Medicaid or no insurance—those are the only ones we can give immunizations to (for free),” Gay said.

Gay said the agency’s vaccine provider agreement states the health department can charge a small out-of-pocket administration fee not to exceed the Medicaid rate of $15.70 and the health department’s Billing Rate Committee proposes implementing a $15 administration fee on vaccines.

Other than rates for vaccines, the proposed rate increases range up to $48 for services with the exception of a $90 rate set for hearing with OAE (Otoacoustic Emissions) service. The remaining rates are unchanged.