California Hospitals’ Discount, Charity Care Policies Posted Online
On Tuesday, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development launched a Web site intended to help consumers compare charity care and discount payment policies at hospitals statewide, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
Residents can search for a hospital by name or location on the site to view its discount pricing policy and download an application (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 1/22).
A 2006 hospital pricing law also directed the state to establish the comparison Web site. Hospital pricing provisions of the law, by former Assembly member Wilma Chan (D-Oakland), prohibit California hospitals from charging low- to moderate-income patients more than the highest rates charged by Medicare or any other government payment program in which the hospital participates.
Policies for about 82% of the state's 405 acute-care hospitals are currently posted on the site, according to Kenny Kwong, manager of acting and reporting systems for OSHPD.
About 50 hospitals have not submitted their policies, while other hospitals have submitted information that has not yet been reviewed by the state agency.
Most of the hospitals not yet complying with the law are small or independent facilities concentrated in Southern California. However, UC-Irvine and UCLA medical centers also have not submitted their policies.
California Hospital Association spokesperson Jan Emerson said CHA will work with facilities to ensure that they comply with the law (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/23).
New York is the only other state to offer consumers a tool to compare charity care or discount payment policies, according to OSHPD Director David Carlisle (Sacramento Business Journal, 1/22).