|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2007
City's Public Hospitals Set the Bar in Providing Charity Care
Statement by Alan D. Aviles, President, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, in response to the new state law requiring all hospitals provide charity care to uninsured New Yorkers.
New York City's public hospitals have long set the example of how all people, regardless of their ability to pay or their immigration status, should be served. HHC's financial assistance program far exceeds the state requirements, is reducing disparities to access by assisting eligible patients obtain public health insurance and providing discounted services to uninsured patients.
For example, our policy exceeds the charity care law financial eligibility guidelines by 100%. The new law requires hospitals to offer discounted care to uninsured patients below 300% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG). HHC casts a wider net by offering financial assistance to patients 400% below the FPG, allowing many more uninsured families and working poor to have access to affordable healthcare. Under the public hospitals financial assistance program, a child in a family of four whose annual family income in 2005 was between $48,375 and $58,050 could be seen at an HHC hospital or clinic for a fee of $15 per visit.
Our program, HHC Options, informs our patients and the public of our clear and consistent financial assistance policy. The multi-lingual program reassures patients who are not eligible for insurance that they don't need to postpone getting healthcare for financial reasons. In Fiscal Year 2006, we aggressively facilitated enrollment of new patients in Medicaid, Child Health Plus and other available government insurance programs, covering more than 90% of our pediatric patients and more than 83% of our adult patients.
HHC Options is the model that other health care providers can look to as they begin to implement their charity care programs.