Law Outlines Charity Care Rules
Beginning Jan. 1, 2007, a state law will require hospitals to inform uninsured patients of their charity care policies, the Oakland Tribune reports.
The law (AB 774), by Assembly member Wilma Chan (D-Oakland), also requires that patients whose incomes do not exceed 350% of the federal poverty level be charged no more than the rate that hospitals charge Medicare for services.
A recent report by Health Consumer Alliance -- a network of nine health consumer centers in San Mateo County -- found that hospitals do not notify uninsured patients of charity care policies.
Several hospitals surveyed did not have financial assistance policies written, while others did not provide adequate discounts or charged the patient more than the cost of care, according to the report (Manekin, Oakland Tribune, 11/19).