Charity Care and Financial Assistance Policy Click here to download a pdf of this policy Haga clic aquí para la versión española Click here to view the Patient Attestation and Application for Charity Haga clic aquí para ver la certificación del paciente y Aplicación de la Caridad en español I. POLICY: Flagler Hospital is committed to providing charity care to persons who have healthcare needs and are uninsured, underinsured, ineligible for a government program, or otherwise unable to pay, for medically necessary care based on their individual financial situation. Consistent with its mission to deliver compassionate, high quality, affordable healthcare services and to advocate for those who are poor and disenfranchised, Flagler Hospital strives to ensure that the financial capacity of people who need health care services does not prevent them from seeking or receiving care. Flagler Hospital will provide, without discrimination, care for emergency medical conditions to individuals regardless of their eligibility for financial assistance or for government assistance. Accordingly, this written policy: Includes eligibility criteria for financial assistance – free and discounted (partial charity) care. Describes the basis for calculating amounts charged to patients eligible for financial assistance under this policy. Describes the method by which patients may apply for financial assistance. Describes how the hospital will widely publicize the policy within the community served by the hospital. Limits the amounts that the hospital will charge for emergency or other medically necessary care provided to individuals eligible for financial assistance to the amount generally billed (received by) the hospital for commercially insured or Medicare patients Charity is not considered to be a substitute for personal responsibility. Patients are expected to cooperate with Flagler Hospital’s procedures for obtaining charity or other forms of payment or financial assistance, and to contribute to the cost of their care based on their individual ability to pay. Individuals with the financial capacity to purchase health insurance shall be encouraged to do so, as a means of assuring access to health care services, for their overall personal health, and for the protection of their individual assets. In order to manage its resources responsibly and to allow Flagler Hospital to provide the appropriate level of assistance to the greatest number of persons in need, the Board of Directors establishes the following guidelines for the provision of patient charity. II. DEFINITIONS: For the purpose of this policy, the terms below are defined as follows: Charity Care: Healthcare services that have been or will be provided but are never expected to result in cash inflows. Charity care results from a provider's policy to provide healthcare services free or at a discount to individuals who meet the established criteria. Family: Using the Census Bureau definition, a group of two or more people who reside together and who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption. According to Internal Revenue Service rules, if the patient claims someone as a dependent on their income tax return, they may be considered a dependent for purposes of the provision of financial assistance. Family Income: Family Income is determined using the Census Bureau definition, which uses the following income when computing federal poverty guidelines: Includes earnings, unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, public assistance, veterans’ payments, survivor benefits, pension or retirement income, interest, dividends, rents, royalties, income from estates, trusts, educational assistance, alimony, child support, assistance from outside the household, and other miscellaneous sources; Noncash benefits (such as food stamps and housing subsidies) do not count; Determined on a before-tax basis; Excludes capital gains or losses; and If a person lives with a family, includes the income of all family members (Non-relatives, such as housemates, do not count). Patient: person receiving services, guarantor signing for financial responsibility or the person supporting or acting on patient’s behalf. Uninsured: The patient has no level of insurance or third party assistance to assist with meeting his/her payment obligations. Underinsured: The patient has some level of insurance or third-party assistance but still has out-of-pocket expenses that exceed his/her financial abilities. Gross charges: The total charges at the organization’s full established rates for the provision of patient care services before deductions from revenue are applied. Emergency medical conditions: Defined within the meaning of section 1867 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395dd). Medically necessary: As defined by Medicare (services or items reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of illness or injury). III. PROCEDURES: A. Services Eligible Under This Policy: For purposes of this policy, For purposes of this policy, “charity” or “financial assistance” refers to healthcare services provided by Flagler Hospital without charge or at a discount to qualifying patients. The following healthcare services are eligible for charity. Emergency medical services provided in an emergency room setting. Services for a condition which, if not promptly treated, would lead to an adverse change in the health status of an individual. Non-elective services provided in response to life-threatening circumstances in a non-emergency room setting; and Medically necessary services, evaluated on a case-by-case basis at Flagler Hospital’s discretion. B. Eligibility for Charity: Eligibility for charity will be considered for those individuals who are uninsured, underinsured, ineligible for any government health care benefit program, and who are unable to pay for their care, based upon a determination of financial need in accordance with this policy. The granting of charity shall be based on an individualized determination of financial need, and shall not take into account age, gender, race, social or immigrant status, sexual orientation or religious affiliation. [Flagler Hospital will also determine any charity assistance when a patient is in litigation or has a pending settlement. If a patient fails to cooperate or provide all requested documents once again it will be up to Flagler Hospital’s discretion to determine any charity assistance.] C. Method by Which Patients May Apply for Charity Care: Financial need will be determined in accordance with procedures that involve an individual assessment of financial need; and may: Include an application process, in which the patient, the patient’s guarantor or supporting person/persons are required to cooperate and supply personal, financial and other information and documentation relevant to making a determination of financial need (such as but not limited to tax returns, bank statements, proof of assets etc…) Include the use of external publically available data sources that provide information on a patient’s or a patient’s guarantor’s ability to pay (such as but not limited to credit scoring, tax and property records etc…) Include reasonable efforts by Flagler Hospital to explore appropriate alternative sources of payment and coverage from public and private payment programs, and to assist patients to apply for such programs; Take into account the patient’s available assets, and all other financial resources available to the patient; and Include a review of the patient’s outstanding accounts receivable for prior services rendered and the patient’s payment history. Patients will be asked to certify all information provided is true. If any information is determined to be false or the patient fails to cooperate with any alternative source of payment all discounts afforded to the patient may be revoked, making the patient or patient’s guarantor responsible for the full charges for services rendered. It is preferred but not required that a request for charity and a determination of financial need occur prior to rendering of non-emergent medically necessary services. However, the determination may be done at any point in the collection cycle. If the last financial evaluation occurred within the past 30 days prior to a subsequent time of service that financial evaluation will suffice as proof in determining financial assistance for that subsequent service. Flagler Hospital’s values of human dignity and stewardship shall be reflected in the application process, financial need determination and granting of charity. Requests for charity shall be processed promptly and Flagler Hospital will provide a letter of charity approval at the patient’s request. If the patient complies with all application requirements and is found not eligible for charity Flagler Hospital will mail the patient a charity denial letter and list the reason for the denial. Each charity application will be reviewed and signed off by the Business Office Supervisor. If charity eligibility is determined and the financial assistance adjustment is applied to the patient’s account, Flagler Hospital’s Director of Patient Financial Services will review each collective batch of accounts and adjustments and then sign off on the top of the batch page indicating review and approval. A summary sheet of the monthly charity write-off totals will be forwarded to the CFO for notification and review. These actions will suffice that all requirements under this policy have been met. D. Presumptive Financial Assistance Eligibility. There are instances when a patient may appear eligible for charity care discounts, but there is no financial assistance form on file due to a lack of supporting documentation. Often there is adequate information provided by the patient or through other sources, which could provide sufficient evidence to provide the patient with charity care assistance. In the event there is no evidence to support a patient’s eligibility for charity care, Flagler Hospital may use outside agencies in determining estimate income amounts for the basis of determining charity care eligibility and potential discount amounts. Once determined, due to the inherent nature of the circumstances, the only discount that can be granted is a 100% write off of the account balance. Presumptive eligibility may be determined on the basis of individual life circumstances that may include: State-funded prescription programs; Homeless or receives care from a homeless clinic; Participation in Women, Infants and Children programs (WIC); Food stamp eligibility; Subsidized school lunch program eligibility; Eligibility for other state or local assistance programs that are unfunded (e.g., Medicaid spend-down, Medicaid exhausted benefits, Medicaid SLMB and QMB); Low income/subsidized housing is provided as a valid address; and Patient is deceased with no known estate. Additionally, Flagler Hospital has contracted with a Third Party Vendor who will also be utilized to identify potential Presumptive Charity accounts utilizing their own proprietary scoring system. Vendor will send a series of statements/letters for a 120 day timeframe as part of its standard collection practices. All true self-pay accounts will be reviewed and scored. The accounts that are deemed to be Presumptive Charity will be identified via this process. Presumptive Charity accounts will be identified separately by the vendor on the monthly close/return report that is received by the hospital. These particular accounts will then be adjusted off to charity (using a specific presumptive charity adjustment code) rather than sending to a primary bad debt collection agency. All patient payments received before the account was deemed eligible for presumptive charity will be refunded for that episode of care. E. Eligibility Criteria and Amounts Charged to Patients: Services eligible under this Policy will be made available to the patient on a sliding fee scale, in accordance with financial need, as determined in reference to Federal Poverty Levels (FPL) in effect at the time of the determination. Following a determination of financial-assistance eligibility, an individual will not be charged more than the amounts generally billed (AGB) for emergency or other medical care provided to individuals with insurance covering that care. At Flagler Hospital the AGB is determined through the “Look-back method” which is calculated as follows: The AGB is calculated by reviewing all past claims that have been paid in full to the hospital facility for medically necessary care by Medicare fee-for-service together with all private health insurers paying claims to the hospital in a prior 12-month period. This amount can include co-insurance; copayments and deductibles. The AGB for emergency or medically necessary care provided to a financial assistance-eligible individual is determined by multiplying gross charges for that care by one or more percentages of gross charges (called "AGB percentages"). The percentages are calculated at least annually by dividing the sum of certain claims paid to the hospital facility by the sum of the associated gross charges for those claims. Multiple AGB percentages may be calculated for separate categories of care (for example, in-patient verses out-patient care; or care provided by different departments) or for separate items or services. Patients who do not have insurance coverage will be given an automatic discount of 50% off of total charges. In special cases, a larger discount may be granted. See “Section F” below which contains the patient discount matrix. Discounted balance amounts need to be paid timely and in accordance with any established payment plan guidelines. Failure to pay on amounts owed may result in the account being sent to a primary collection agency. Patients will receive billing statements reflecting the discounted amount. Patients whose family income is at or below 200% of the FPL are eligible to receive free medical care, including mental health services. Patients whose family income is above 201% but not more than 400% of the FPL are eligible to receive services in accordance with the Discount Matrix below. Patients who qualify for financial assistance under this policy will be billed amounts no greater than the amounts generally billed to (received by the hospital for) commercially insured or Medicare patients for their medical and mental health care. Additionally, patients may be eligible to receive discounted rates for medical and mental health care on a case-by-case basis based on their specific circumstances, such as catastrophic illness or medical indigence, at the discretion of Flagler Hospital. To be approved by the CFO and Patient Financial Services Director. If Flagler Hospital determines that a patient qualifies for free care but may be eligible for another alternative pay source/coverage, the patient will be asked to fully cooperate in the process and resolution of that alternative pay source/coverage. During the determination period a discount of 85% will be applied to the account, if alternative pay source\coverage is received the adjustment will be reversed for payment. If the patient is not cooperative in the financial process and the resolution of the alternative pay source/coverage, Flagler Hospital will determine if there will be any additional financial reduction on the account and also the specific amount of that reduction. After the application process and submission of all requested and complete proof of income and assets, the attached matrix will be followed for the appropriate adjustment amount. F. Flagler Hospital – Medical Patient Discount Matrix Income Uninsured Assistance Discount Percentage Underinsured (Balance After Insurance) Discount Percentage Up to 200% FPL 201% ‐ 300% 301% ‐ 400% 100% Charity 85% Charity 75% Charity 100% Charity 25% Charity 10% Charity Uninsured 50% Automatic Self Pay Discount N/A FLAGLER HOSPITAL – MENTAL HEALTH DISCOUNT MATRIX: *Same as Medical Patient Discount Matrix FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE SLIDING F.P.L. SCALE: *See attached Federal Poverty Income Guidelines and Flagler Hospital Matrix G. Communication of the Charity Program to Patients and Within the Community: Notification about charity available from Flagler Hospital, which shall include a contact number, shall be disseminated by Flagler Hospital by various means, which may include, but are not limited to, the publication of notices in patient bills and by posting notices in emergency rooms, in the Conditions of Admission form, admitting and registration departments, and the patient financial services office that is located off of the facility campus, and at other public places as Flagler Hospital may elect. Flagler Hospital shall also publish a summary of this charity care policy on facility websites, in brochures available in patient access sites and at other places within the community served by the hospital as Flagler Hospital may elect. Such notices and summary information shall be provided in the primary languages spoken by the population serviced by Flagler Hospital. Referral of patients for charity may be made by any member of the Flagler Hospital staff or medical staff, including physicians, nurses, financial counselors, social workers, case managers, chaplains, and religious sponsors. A request for charity may be made by the patient or a family member, close friend, or associate of the patient, subject to applicable privacy laws. H. Relationship to Collection Policies: Flagler Hospital management shall develop policies and procedures for internal and external collection practices (including actions the hospital may take in the event of non-payment, including collections action and reporting to credit agencies) that take into account the extent to which the patient qualifies for charity, a patient’s good faith effort to apply for a governmental program or for charity from Flagler Hospital, and a patient’s good faith effort to comply with his or her payment agreements with Flagler Hospital. For patients who qualify for charity and who are cooperating in good faith to resolve their discounted hospital bills, Flagler Hospital may offer extended payment plans, will not send unpaid bills to outside collection agencies, and will cease all collection efforts. A collection agency may be used to obtain payment. Flagler Hospital currently uses outside vendors to attempt the collection of self-pay balances. You will be contacted three times (via billing statements) during a 120-day period reminding you of your bill(s). During this period, you will be expected to pay your bill(s) in full, establish a payment plan or apply for financial assistance If the balance is unpaid after the 120-day period or a payment plan has not been established, your account will be sent to a collection agency. Your credit may be impacted if the balance is not resolved 60 days after collection agency placement. Flagler Hospital will not impose extraordinary collections actions such as wage garnishments; liens on primary residences, or other legal actions for any patient without first making reasonable efforts to determine whether that patient is eligible for charity care under this financial assistance policy. Reasonable efforts shall include: a. Validating that the patient owes the unpaid bills and that all sources of third-party payment have been identified and billed by the hospital; b. Documentation that Flagler Hospital has or has attempted to offer the patient the opportunity to apply for charity care pursuant to this policy and that the patient has not complied with the hospital’s application requirements; c. Documentation that the patient does not qualify for financial assistance on a presumptive basis; d. Documentation that the patient has been offered a payment plan but has not honored the terms of that plan. I. Regulatory Requirements: In implementing this Policy, Flagler Hospital shall comply with all other federal, state, and local laws, rules, and regulations that may apply to activities conducted pursuant to this Policy.