Charity Care & Discount Policy

Patient Billing & Collection Practices

  1. GSH will strive to assure that patient accounts are processed fairly and consistently. All patients will be treated with dignity, compassion and respect. Our debt collection practices will be consistent with these principles.
  2. Patients who have not provided proof of coverage at or before the time care is provided will receive a statement of full charges for services rendered at the hospital. Included with that statement will be a request to provide the hospital with health insurance information. In addition, the patient will be sent a notice that they may be eligible for Medicare, Medi-Cal, Healthy Families, California Health Benefit Exchange, Los Angeles County Indigent Patient Program, California Children Services (CCS), charity, or a self pay discount. This notice will include the contact information (name and telephone number) for a hospital employee or office to obtain additional information, including how the patient can obtain the appropriate application forms. It will also include a statement on how patients may obtain applications for Medi-Cal, Healthy Families, coverage through the California Health Benefit Exchange, the Los Angeles County Indigent program and any other state or country funded health coverage programs, and that the hospital will provide these forms. The notice must also include a referral to a local consumer assistance center housed at legal services offices. Patients who do not have coverage will be provided with applications for Medi-Cal, Healthy Families and other state or county-funded health coverage programs and any charitable assistance programs that might offer financial assistance. This shall be in addition to the notice provided prior to discharge if the patient has been admitted or to patients receiving emergency or outpatient care.
  3. If the patient does not respond to the above statement and notice within thirty (30) days, a second statement reflecting full charges will be mailed to the patient/guarantor address along with the information requesting insurance information and offering the option of applying for self pay charity care discounts. If the patient again does not respond within another 30 days, the hospital will assume that the patient is not eligible for any coverage through personal or group health insurance and is not eligible for any third party payor benefits (e.g., Medicare, Medi-Cal, the Healthy Families program, California Health Benefit Exchange, Los Angeles County Indigent Patient Program, California Children’s Services (CCS), Victim of Crime (VOC), worker’s compensation, State funded California Healthcare for Indigent Program (CHIP); and coverage for accidents (TPL).) Unless there is evidence to the contrary, the Hospital may assume that the patient is eligible for a charity discount and adjust the patient’s account with a charitable discount. Subsequent statements will reflect these discounted rates.
  4. If a patient is attempting to qualify for eligibility under the hospital’s charity care and discount policy, and is attempting in good faith to settle the outstanding bill, the hospital shall not send the unpaid account to any collection agency or other assignee unless that entity has agreed to comply with this policy.
  5. Eligibility for Self Pay Charity discounts, Charity Care Discounts, and High Medical Expense may be determined at any time the Hospital has received all the information it needs to determine the patient’s eligibility. Patients are required promptly to report to GSH any change in their financial information.
  6. GSH or its contracted collection agencies will undertake reasonable collection efforts to collect amounts due from patients. These efforts include assistance with application for possible government program coverage, evaluation for charity care eligibility, offers of self pay discounts and extended payment plans. GSH will not impose wage garnishments or liens on primary residences. This does not preclude GSH or its contracted collection agencies from pursuing reimbursement from third party liability settlements or other legally responsible parties.
  7. Agencies that assist the hospital in billing outstanding amounts from patients must sign a written agreement that they will adhere to the hospital’s standards and scope of practices. The agency must also agree:
    • Not to report adverse information to a consumer credit reporting agency or commence civil action against the patient for nonpayment at any time prior to 150 days after initial billing.
    • Not use wage garnishment, except by order of the court upon noticed motion, supported by a declaration file by the movant identifying the basis for which it believes that the patient has the ability to make payment on the judgment under the wage garnishment, which the court shall consider in light of the size of the judgment and additional information provided by the patient prior to, or at, the hearing concerning the patient’s ability to pay, including information about probable future medical expenses based on the current condition of the patient and other obligations of the patient.
    • Not place liens on primary residences.
    • Adhere to all requirements in California and Federal law.
  8. If a patient is overcharged, the hospital shall reimburse the patient the overcharged amount. Interest will be paid on the overcharged amount. Interest will be based on the prevailing interest rate and calculated from the date the overpayment was received.

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