Is a free service provided on the basis of presumptive eligibility allowable for charity on the S-10 worksheet? Our policy is to presume a patient who has been referred by a local free clinic to be eligible for charity care for the referred service.
Answer: The cost report instructions only indicate that the patient must meet the charity care/financial assistance policy to be counted on the uncompensated lines on the S-10 worksheet. Furthermore, 501(r) regulations allow for presumptive eligibility, so presuming patients who have been referred by a local free clinic to be eligible for charity care is reasonable. Those patients can be presumptively eligible for hospital charity care discounts. Note that if the patient presumptively qualifies for less than the full charity discount, the patient must have an opportunity to review the full policy and apply for the full discount if other qualifications are met.
This question was answered by: Rick Parker, executive director, CBIZ KA Consulting Services, and a member of HFMA’s New Jersey Chapter.
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