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Penn. to review definition of hospital charity care


Responding to a series of articles called “Counting Charity Care,” by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has agreed to review the state’s definition of charity care, the newspaper reports.

The newspaper raised the question of how hospitals make decisions for patients who don’t fill out  charity-care forms. Many hospitals use algorithms to determine if the patient qualified for charity care based on publicly available data.

However, the paper reported, many hospitals don’t tell these patients that they qualified for charity care and that they can  come back for more free care as they would with patients who complete the form.

This practice means that charity care is not necessarily applied evenly among patients, the paper reported.

The Post-Gazette reported:

“Hospitals have given various reasons why they don’t tell the patients — from claiming that the law simply does not require them to, to saying that it would just be too expensive and a ‘burden’ to track down the patients and tell them they qualified.

“Patient advocates say not telling the patient does not appear to follow the law or spirit of the Affordable Care Act, which seeks to get people into a system of regular health care, rather than just receiving care in an emergency room when they are sicker.”

To read the Post-Gazette’s story, please hit this link.

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