Can you afford Christian Science nursing?

Janiva's blog logoOften Christian Scientists dismiss the idea of calling upon Christian Science nursing because of cost. And that should never happen! No one should ever delay calling on this spiritual ministry because of cost.

I thought it would be helpful to bring this issue forward and discuss the costs and the options for paying for Christian Science nursing. My hope is that more individuals will feel comfortable asking questions, and that they won’t hesitate to reach out for the support of Christian Science nursing when there is a need for healing and loving care.

How much does Christian Science nursing cost?

There are so many aspects to the question of the cost of Christian Science nursing. Is it 24-hour care in a facility? Is it a short visit by a visiting Christian Science nurse or a private duty Christian Science nurse? And in what part of the country? Is the service covered by insurance, Medicare, or benevolence?

A quick check on the website for the Association of Organizations for Christian Science Nursing (AOCSN) and I found the following rates from around the U.S.:

Visiting Christian Science Nursing Services – Rates range from $40 – $80 per hour. One gave the first visit free and another asked for a donation in lieu of charging. Financial assistance and benevolence are usually available. Some visiting services may not be covered by insurance.

Inpatient Christian Science nursing charges, including room and board, in a facility – Rates range from $140 per day for light Christian Science nursing to $1,280 per day for skilled. Financial assistance and benevolence are usually available at facilities. Some in-patient services may be covered by insurance and Medicare.

Private duty Christian Science nursing – These rates are not published, but I understand the rates generally range from $350 – $650 per day.  Private duty Christian Science nursing care is not covered by Medicare, and it is usually not covered by insurance.

Short stays vs. longer stays – what are the implications?051204_residents_cs-nursing_hi_0084

Of the eight Christian Science nursing facilities where I could easily access their rates, the average for lighter Christian Science nursing is $227 per day. And for skilled it averaged $689 daily. If you were at a facility for only one week, the charges would be $1,823 and $5,513 respectively. And while that is costly, it might be possible for many to pay for a week’s stay. However, when a challenge is not met immediately and a longer stay is needed, the monthly charges at these same rates are $6,810 (lighter) and $20,670 (skilled).

These rates are a surprise to most Christian Scientists, maybe even a shock. So let’s look at options for paying for care.

Options for payment?

I’m going to focus on options for payment for Christian Science nursing in a facility. As you can see from the costs listed above, these are more significant charges, and can seem overwhelming to those considering calling upon Christian Science nursing. In a Christian Science facility you have many options for payment: insurance (including Medicare, and in a few facilities, Medicaid), scheduled payments, and benevolence/financial assistance.

  • Private or employer insurance – You’re probably aware that coverage for Christian Science nursing in a facility is difficult to find. There is some coverage available. A great source of information on this is Insurance and Christian Science at christianscience.com or the BA’s Health Care page.
  • Medicare can be a great option for payment for those who qualify. The BA has good information on Medicare for Christian Scientists and here is a list of Medicare providers on The Commission’s website.
  • Benevolence/financial assistance – Most Christian Science nursing facilities offer some form of assistance for those who are unable to pay all or a portion of their charges.

BA_CSNA-MAY2016-197The Christian Science nursing facilities are aware that cost can be a huge hurdle for an individual. And they are prepared to help in a number of ways. They may have an option for scheduled payments over a longer period of time. I’ve already mentioned benevolence, which may be available for most, or a portion, of your costs, if you do not have the ability to pay.

Good News!

The good news is that a number of Christian Scientists and organizations are working to provide more and better options for payment.

  • You may have heard that there is currently work on a National Benevolence Fund for Christian Science nursing.
  • The Christian Science Provider Network is a nonprofit network created to assist with processing insurance claims and is working with insurance companies and managed care plans to gain more coverage for Christian Science care.
  • The Christian Science Committee on Publication U.S. Federal Office has been working to increase the availability of insurance options that cover Christian Science nursing.

You are not alone!

Christian Science nurses, visiting services and facilities, want to support you. And they are prepared to talk with you about options as well as answer your specific questions about costs and payments.

Next steps?

  • Check out information on your nearest Christian Science nursing facility or visiting service. Here is a link: The Commission. Then call or email the nearest facility with your questions.
  • Check out Healthcare and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at christianscience.com
  • Check out insurance with Christian Science coverage and Medicare on the BA’s Health Care page
  • Have a Health Care Proxy to ensure that your choice of care is honored

I would love to hear from you on this topic of the cost of Christian Science nursing. Please let me know if you know of other resources or information that I haven’t mentioned. And if you have questions, please contact me.

e-mail   jtoler@chbenevolent.org

phone   617-734-5600 ext 2124

 

4 Responses to Can you afford Christian Science nursing?

  1. Diana says:

    Please describe the range of services provided (what is available vs. what is not — e.g., changing dressings) by “visiting CS nursing services”. Thank you.

    • pwoodsum says:

      Thank you for your question. The BA’s Visiting Christian Science Nursing Service may include the following services (for more explanation, please call 617-734-5600 and ask to speak with the Visiting Christian Science Nursing Service):
      • Personal care, and bathing
      • Preparing and modifying meals; assistance with feeding
      • Cleansing and bandaging
      • Mobility and assisting with standing, walking, moving, and settling
      • Assistance and support for the needs of rest, comfort and communication
      • Support to family members or other care-givers to help insure proper care in ministering to individual’s needs

  2. Radine says:

    I did not see SCS Insurance mentioned. My husband and I have SCS, as did my mother. Though the amount paid was small, I did claim for practitioner care for my mother many years ago and it was paid without any question. Back then, SCS paid $6.00 per practitioner treatment, as well as something for nursing attention on two visits. I have not checked recently to see where payments stand but we have kept up our SCS insurance for many years.

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