Wills Eye Hospital is one of the best eye hospitals in the world. But sadly, there's some uncertainty, it could be in danger of having to change the way it serves our community. There's a bureaucratic battle that is threatening its hospital status and the important procedures it performs.
FOX 29's Karen Hepp explains.
6-year-old Joey has a bag of popcorn and candy and a big smile. He knows the doctors at Wills Eye are taking good care of him. They are literally lifesavers. They are helping him defeat the deadly eye cancer he was diagnosed with in July.
"I knew something was wrong Thursday. Monday morning, got the diagnosis, Wednesday started chemo, It's amazing to be so close and not have to worry about where to go, and get a second opinion. Started with the best," said Chrissy Pobio.
Right now, Philadelphia's groundbreaking world renowned facility for eye care is at risk of losing its hospital status because of bureaucratic federal rules. For the thousands treated there every year it could be devastating.
On Friday, Sen. Bob Casey came to visit Joey and the other patients at Wills Eye. 17 years ago, the doctors there saved his own daughter's sight. He's personally writing letters and calling leaders to help keep Wills Eye a hospital
The issue is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is demanding Wills drop it's inpatient services and basically lose it's hospital status or lose all Medicare patients. This will force thousands to go elsewhere.
"It's a big, important chunk of services and we need to be able to take care of everyone. These patients would be deprived of services," said Dr. Julia Haller.
The facility will be allowed to continue receiving Medicare reimbursement if it submits an acceptable plan of correction by November 1. However, after November 1st that's it. If Wills Eye does what the feds want it faces another problem, the state won't certify them.
"We can not allow that to happen. Too many families depend on Wills Eye," said Sen. Casey.