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PA Hospital Association Issues Charity Care Guidelines; Guidance Outlines Five Principles for Charity Care, Financial Aid, Collections Practices.



HARRISBURG, Pa., July 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP HAP. An old word which signifies to catch; as, "to hap the rent," to hap the deed poll." Techn. Dict. h.t. ) this week provided its member hospitals with a comprehensive set of guidelines addressing charity care, financial aid, and collection practices.

"Hospital care and hospital financial practices are fraught fraught  
adj.
1. Filled with a specified element or elements; charged: an incident fraught with danger; an evening fraught with high drama.

2.
 with complexity," said HAP President and CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board.  Carolyn F. Scanlan. "These charity care guidelines provide Pennsylvania hospitals with another tool to help them implement policies that are easily available to, and understood by, their patients and communities.

"Pennsylvania's hospitals have a long history of addressing charity care and financial aid responsibilities through their health care missions. These guidelines take that commitment to a new level."

The guidelines incorporate key elements of Act 77 of 2001 (Tobacco Settlement Act) and Act 55 of 1997 (Institutions of Purely Public Charity Act), as well as federal tax exemption requirements.

The charity care guidelines flow from five key principles articulated by HAP's CFO See Chief Financial Officer.  Advisory Group, Committee on Public Payor Policy, Trustee Leadership Steering Committee steer·ing committee
n.
A committee that sets agendas and schedules of business, as for a legislative body or other assemblage.


steering committee
Noun
, and Board of Directors:
  1. Concern over a hospital bill will never prevent any individual from
     receiving emergency health services. Hospitals will communicate this
     message clearly to prospective patients and to local community service
     agencies, and make it clear that essential services will be provided
     without regard to ability to pay.
  2. Hospitals will assist patients in obtaining health insurance coverage
     from privately and publicly funded sources whenever appropriate.
  3. Hospitals will have charity care and financial aid policies and
     practices that are consistent with their missions and values, and with
     federal and state law, and that take into account each individual's
     ability to contribute to the cost of his or her care, as well as the
     hospital's financial ability to provide the care.
  4. Financial aid policies will be clear, understandable, and communicated
     in a manner that is dignified and in languages appropriate to the
     communities and patients served. These policies will be made readily
     available to prospective and current patients and to the community at
     large.
  5. Debt collection policies - by both hospital staff and external
     collection agencies - will reflect the mission and values of the
     hospital, and will be monitored carefully to avoid unintended
     consequences.




The guidelines also provide hospitals with tips for updating their financial aid policies; developing plans to communicate such policies to patients; identifying appropriate staff to administer the policies; and administering the policies fairly, respectfully re·spect·ful  
adj.
Showing or marked by proper respect.



re·spectful·ly adv.
, and consistently.

The HAP document, Charity Care and Financial Aid Guidelines for Pennsylvania Hospitals, is available for download at http://www.haponline.org/public/charity_care.

HAP is a statewide membership services organization that advocates for nearly 250 Pennsylvania acute and specialty care, primary care, subacute care, long-term care, home health, and hospice hospice, program of humane and supportive care for the terminally ill and their families; the term also applies to a professional facility that provides care to dying patients who can no longer be cared for at home.  providers, as well as the patients and communities they serve. Additional information about HAP is available online at http://www.haponline.org/.

CONTACT: Roger H. Baumgarten, Director, Media Relations, Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, +1-717-561-5342, Cell: +1-717-329-9537, rbaumgarten@haponline.org

Web site: http://www.haponline.org/public/charity_care

Web site: http://www.haponline.org/
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 27, 2004
Words:500
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