UMass Memorial Health Care, Worcester, Mass., and Partners HealthCare, Boston, announced they will adopt discount billing policies for self-pay patients this summer, becoming the first not-for-profit systems in the state to do so. For-profit Tenet Healthcare Corp., Dallas, owned three hospitals in the state when it announced a similar policy last year, but subsequently sold those hospitals to Vanguard Health Systems, Nashville. UMass said its policy, which will go into effect July 1, provides varying levels of financial assistance to patients earning up to 500% of the federal poverty level, covering not only hospital bills but also providing discounts for physician services from its UMass Memorial Medical Group. Partners will offer reduced rates to all self-pay patients, although most patients whose families are at 400% of the federal poverty level and above will be eligible only for a flat 20% discount under its policy, which will go into effect Aug. 1. Both policies include a provision for patients of any income level whose bill is very high relative to their income level. Self-pay patients who are not Massachusetts residents but used to be covered by a state program for the uninsured also will be eligible for discounts from both systems. -- by Vince Galloro
Mass. systems to offer uninsured discounts
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