Two Boston-based patients' rights organizations say not-for-profit healthcare providers are not doing enough to publicize their charity-care policies, despite assurances to the contrary from industry supporters.
Not-for-profits seen lax on sharing charity rules
A survey of 99 tax-exempt hospitals and health systems nationally found that only about one-quarter of the providers distributed information about who can qualify for reduced-cost or free medical care, and fewer than half of the hospitals provided applications for the programs. The study was conducted and published by the Access Project and Community Catalyst.
The findings come only weeks after passage of the landmark healthcare reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which explicitly states that hospitals must prominently post their charity-care policies as a condition of qualifying for status as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization.
The study also comes five years after a similar report from the Access Project, which found that despite assurances at the time from the American Hospital Association, hospital executives were reticent to even participate in a survey on the posting of charity-care policies. That study followed an AHA announcement at the time that 80% of its members had signed pledges to abide by voluntary charity-care guidelines.
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