Washington to change hospital charity care law

Changes are coming to Washington’s state charity care law July 1.

Four things to know:

1. The new law establishes mandatory discount standards for patients from 101 percent to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, according to the Washington State Hospital Association.

2. It establishes two tiers of hospitals and establishes mandated free and discounted care for each based on a patient’s family size and income relative to the federal poverty level, according to the association. Tier 1 includes hospitals that are part of larger systems. Tier 2 includes smaller, independent, and rural hospitals.

3. Hospitals must adopt procedures to identify patients eligible for retroactive Medicaid eligibility and assist them in applying for coverage, according to the association. Hospitals are not required to provide charity care to patients who do not make reasonable efforts to comply with the application process. 

4. The law establishes a definition of “indigent persons” who may qualify for charity care, according to the Washington State Hospital Association. It specifies that indigent persons are those who meet the federal poverty level thresholds and have exhausted any third-party coverage.

Read more about the changes here.

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