During this March 18 Forum networking webinar, three speakers shared how the expansion of Medicaid, the rollout of the insurance exchanges, and the increase in patient out-of-pocket expenses is causing hospitals and other providers to revisit their charity care policies. The speakers also addressed the Accountable Care Act’s (ACA) Section 501(r) provisions on financial assistance and billing/collection policies. Here are three key takeaways from the discussion:
Check your collections policy. Providers should ensure that their collections policies are not in conflict with provisions in their charity care policies, said Bob Wagner, director of revenue cycle, Nebraska Methodist Health System.
Define criteria for patients to receive charity care. Managed care plans usually have a clause that requires providers to collect copayments and deductibles. Therefore, providers must clearly document why they are waiving payments and deductibles for patients who qualify for charity care policies, said Wagner.
Follow the current 501(r) rules. In theory, the 501(r) requirements enacted under the ACA are still proposed rules. However, the IRS has said providers should follow the proposed 501(r) rules until the regulations are finalized, said Mark Rukavina, principal, Community Health Advisors, LLC.
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(CPE credits are only available to Forum members who attended the live webinar on March 18.)