Review finds 5 in 20 Washington hospitals violate state charity care law

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Twelve hospitals across the state of Washington received charity care deficiency letters after a recent report by Columbia Legal Services revealed significant problems.

Washington law requires all hospitals to only demand one form of an income-related document, determine if patients qualify for charity care and notify patients of their options. Columbia Legal Services found five hospitals violated this law. The legal organization also found seven more hospitals deficient in their charity care offerings, but not in violation of state or federal laws.

The study cited instances where hospitals were not doing enough to overcome language barriers to charity care, patients were not adequately informed about their charity care rights and hospitals were not informing patients of eligibility or screening them for eligibility.

To investigate the efficacy of charity care policies in Washington hospitals, Columbia Legal Services reviewed state and national charity care reports, hospital data, state laws and uninsured rates. The report tested 20 hospitals in the state.

Read the full report here.


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