Charitable care is a program under the national healthcare policy that provides a reduced in price or free healthcare to patients who fall under the low income category. These programs are found in all states across the country including Indiana.
Being a resident of Indianapolis in Indiana, I decided to find out more about this issue by visiting one our local hospitals that provides charitable care and explored its general policy on charitable care. The hospital I chose was the Good Samaritan hospital.
The hospital’s mission is to basically provide a healthcare experience that is refreshing and remarkable to patients. Good Samaritan Hospital’s main commitment is to grant underinsured, uninsured and persons who do not qualify for government programs with efficient charity care in their healthcare related needs. It has a financial assistance program that spends up to three million dollars in charitable healthcare.
The hospital gives emergency services to all patients with no regards to their financial situation. For cases that are not of the emergency nature, the hospital does not deny basic healthcare services to patients who exhibit an inability to cater for services of that nature. In exchange, patients’ co-operation is paramount and they are generally required to fill a charity care application where it is then assessed and a response given.
For patients that do not possess assets that are non-except, they are eligible to receive full charity care that is 100%, if the income of their families does not exceed 300% of the state guidelines of poverty. If the income lies between 400 and 300%, patients are required to pay about 20-80% of the hospital expenses (Washington 2007).
The hospital recognizes the fact that charity need is indeed a very personal and sensitive issue for the various recipients of such programs. The hospital thus makes the effort of maintaining the confidentiality of the information provided by patients so as to preserve the dignity of the individuals who may want to seek healthcare charity.
There various strengths and weaknesses for this kind of charitable care policy. One of the strengths of the policy is that it is well defined such that members of the society who are in different financial states know their fate when visiting the hospital that is whether they are subject to receive charity care. Another strength is that the financial help program constantly receives funds from other charities as a result of its efficiency that assures donors that the money that they donate is being put to good use. The availability of funds from both the government and donors ensures that charity care services ate the hospital will always be available (Morgan 2010). The other strength of this policy is that its is in accordance with generally accepted state charity care policies therefore ensuring conformity.
There are not many weaknesses that can be identified with this particular policy. One of the weaknesses of the policy is its failure to recognize migrant groups as part of its policy. The policy only caters for US citizens. This is hugely discriminatory and the policy should therefore be reviewed to include everybody. Another weakness of the policy is its rigid guidelines. This policy has been use for a long time and has not gone through major changes. The society is constantly evolving and the policy must also evolve likewise and loosen its rigid guidelines that have been in effect for a long time.
I also conducted another research on some hospitals around the town of Indiana polis like the St. Vincent and the West View hospitals. An analysis of their charitable care policies revealed that theirs do not match those of the Good Samaritan hospital. For example, the West View does not extend charity care to patients who require urgent services and who are insured or ineligible for government funding. St. Vincent hospital does not offer charity to people who have an income exceeding 150% of the state poverty guidelines (Walter 2009). Therefore in my opinion, I think that the Good Samaritan Hospital has one of the best charitable care policies in the entire area of Indianapolis and Indiana in general.
Washington, E. S. (2007). Charitable healthcare in America (8th ed., p. 22). Indianapolis, Indiana: Mckenn Inc.
Morgan, T. J. (2010). What is charitable Healthcare? Charity Redefined, 3(27), 32.
Walter, M. E. (2009). Indiana State Healthcare. The Medical journal, 3(16), 25.