MOONSHINERS CAST MEMBER DIES

DAYTONA BEACH — A cast member of a docudrama TV series claims that after being hospitalized at Halifax Health Medical Center for injuries from a motorcycle accident during Bike Week, he was subsequently discharged because he lacked insurance.

But Halifax Health officials, who could not speak to the specific case because of patient confidentiality laws, said a patient’s ability to pay is never a factor in the health care services they provide or discharge decisions. The 558-bed facility is the only public hospital in the area.

Josh Owens, who stars in the Discovery channel show “Moonshiners,” said his care at the Daytona Beach hospital was stellar until a female employee inquired about how he intended to pay and that “his insurance had run out.”

Owens, 40, of Asheville, North Carolina, said he was surprised by the statement since he has not had any insurance coverage since he was 21. Less than a day after the encounter, Owens said he was discharged from the hospital.

He added that he didn’t expect a handout from the hospital just because he lacked traditional health coverage. “Send me a bill and I would pay what I can,” Owens said.

“I was too screwed up to ask a whole lot of questions. I was in the hospital for a few days before they said anything about insurance.”

Owens was taken to Halifax Health by ambulance on March 16 after he was thrown from an antique motorcycle while preparing for an exhibition race at the New Smyrna Speedway. He was expected to participate the next day in Billy Lane’s Sons of Speed Vintage Motorcycle Race.

Owens said the accident broke all but one of his ribs, punctured a lung, broke his collarbone and shoulder blade and stripped the skin off one of his pointer fingers down to the bone. He said he initially spent five days at the hospital.

In response to an inquiry from The News-Journal, hospital officials said they could not accurately say how long a patient might stay in the hospital for broken ribs. The length of stay, officials said, would depend on other injuries, age and various other factors.

Taking all these factors into consideration, a patient’s hospital stay could be for one day or as long as 10 days, said Ann Martorano, a Halifax Health spokeswoman.

“People break their ribs all the time. Some of them are never admitted to the hospital; it’s just a matter of taping them up,” Martorano said. “It’s all based on the total picture of the patient.”

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