Half of New York hospitals that receive subsidies for low-income patients fail to comply with the state's financial assistance policy disclosure law, according to a new report.
N.Y. hospitals fail to follow charity-care law
The report released by the Community Service Society of New York found “widespread non-compliance” with state law and guidance on how hospitals disclose financial aid for low-income patients. Hospitals that receive New York funds designed to offset losses on care for low-income patients must make charity-care policies public and meet other criteria.
The average hospital received $5.5 million from the state subsidies in 2010, the report said.
About half of 201 hospitals (102), which receive $400 million in subsidies in 2010 for unpaid medical bills, did not meet four criteria for disclosure, the report said. The Community Service Society, an advocacy group, contacted the hospitals and reviewed hospital websites for financial aid policies.
Hospital financial aid policies must explain income eligibility and how to apply for aid under the law, the report said. Policies must also outline geographic service areas and tell patients that they should ignore bills during the application process.
Hospitals that violate the state law approved fewer (9.6) financial aid applications per bed, on average, than hospitals that follow the law (24.3), the report said.
Twenty hospitals did not release their policy, did not respond to the survey or did not publish financial aid information online. The hospitals received $87.4 million to subsidize unpaid medical bills, including bad debt and charity care, the report said.
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