Connecticut hospitals oppose bill for charity care standardization

Connecticut lawmakers are proposing legislation that would standardize paperwork for charity care and require hospitals to make it easier for patients to understand their financial assistance options at the beginning of treatment. 

House Bill 5320 calls for a state body to work with a group of hospitals in the state to create a single application form for hospital financial aid by Jan. 1, 2025. Hospitals will then be required to include the URL link to the form on the state's website on all of its billing statements and in discharge paperwork. 

The legislation also contains numerous requirements for how and where hospitals disclose the availability of charity care funds, such as signage in the hospital and one-page summaries of charity care policies made available to members of the public. 

The bill prohibits hospitals from requiring patients to apply for the Connecticut medical assistance program, Medicare, or other government-funded insurance before it provides hospital financial assistance, "unless the hospital has a reasonable basis to believe that the patient will qualify for one or more of the programs." 

The Connecticut Hospital Association opposes the bill. 

"CHA's primary objection to this bill is that it is largely duplicative," the association said in testimony submitted to the state's public health committee in March. The CHA argues that hospitals may offer a range of financial assistance programs that vary from hospital to hospital and contain specific eligibility requirements. 

"The programs available and the requirements may vary from year to year. An application that took into consideration all such requirements would be difficult to maintain (because programs change), and it would require the patient to complete a much longer and more burdensome form than they would otherwise need to complete if they were using an application specific to an individual hospital and its programs." 

Complete text of House Bill 5320 is available here

The CHA's statement of opposition can be found in full here.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars