Financial Assistance Policy Plain Language Summary
This summary applies to all DCH Health System hospitals, including DCH Regional Medical Center, Northport Medical Center and Fayette Medical Center, as well as the DCH Rehabilitation Pavilion (Inpatient Rehabilitation), North Harbor Pavilion (Inpatient Psychiatric) and Fayette Medical Center Long Term Care. This policy does not apply to non-tax exempt entities owned by the DCH Healthcare Authority, including physician practices and clinics within DCH Holdings, LLC.
As a community-owned, not-for-profit organization, DCH Health System is committed to providing quality health care services to all residents of Tuscaloosa and West Alabama in a financially responsible manner. DCH does not refuse care for financial reasons to any patient requiring a medically necessary procedure. “Medically necessary” means that we have a properly completed order for the procedure from a physician and that it is based on a legitimate medical diagnosis.
We recognize that uninsured persons have special needs as they seek health-care services. In order to better meet the needs of the uninsured, we offer a wide range of services to help uninsured patients receive care. We also have processes in place to assess the financial status of uninsured patients in order to help them possibly secure coverage or take advantage of special programs within the DCH Health System. We also want to ensure that our patients know what, if any, financial obligations they will have and that they know the payment options available to them.
Although we look at each patient individually, we want to provide an overview of the ways the DCH Health System helps uninsured patients and any patients who may have outstanding financial balances after their insurance has paid their portion of their bill.
You may be eligible for financial assistance under the terms and conditions the hospital offers to qualified patients. For additional information, read our Financial Assistance Policy
or contact the hospital financial assistance representative at (205) 750-5004
. Click here to download our Financial Assistance Application
. Fill out the application and return to the address listed on the form.
Determining Eligibility for Medicaid or Other Coverage
For patients who have no insurance, we first assess whether they might be eligible for Medicaid or some other type of public assistance. If they are eligible for Medicaid, we will help them apply for the coverage.
All patients are eligible to apply for Financial Assistance. In accordance with guidance proposed from the U.S. Department of Treasury for charitable hospitals DCH Health System posts signage in all admission and registration areas, displays its policy in a prominent place on the DCH website and includes charity related information on all billing statements.
Patients whose income is less than 200% of the federal poverty level are eligible for a charity discount equaling 100% of the amount owed.
Charity approval will be considered upon receipt of a completed charity application and documentation that supports the stated income. (Bank statements, tax return, pay check stubs etc).
In addition, DCH Health System may use contracted services from credit agencies such as Experian, Equifax and TransUnion to independently analyze a patient’s ability to pay and to calculate the patient’s income level percentage compared to the federal poverty guideline. Data obtained from these sources can be used to qualify a patient for charity in lieu of a completed charity application and supporting documentation.
Charity approval can be made for catastrophic situations and is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Options for Persons Who Are Able to Pay Part of Their Bill
If the patient is uninsured and ineligible for Medicaid, but is able to make some level of payment based on the detailed screening process, this amount will be discussed and arrangements for payment will be made. Options include payment by credit card, advance payment, setting up an installment plan or negotiating a settlement.
All self-pay patients are offered a 25 percent discount at time of service if they can pay their bill immediately. Self-pay discounts greater than 25 percent can be approved depending on the patient’s verified ability to pay. Factors commonly used to evaluate a patient’s ability to pay include but are not limited to the following: household income and expenses, assets, hospital costs and major payer reimbursement. Exceptions granting extended payment terms in addition to discounts can be made with the approval of Business Office management or Administration. Long-term care patients are charged a daily per diem rate that is not eligible for discounts.
Charges Will Not Exceed Amounts Generally Billed
If you receive financial assistance under our Policy, you will not be charged more for emergency or other medically necessary care than the amount we generally bill patients having commercial insurance or Medicare coverage.
What About Insured Patients Who May Owe the Hospital?
If a patient has insurance, they may still owe a deductible or copayment. Using information available to us at registration, we will do our best to inform patients of what their deductible or copay will be. The amount provided is an estimate; we cannot guarantee deductible or copay information provided at the time of registration is precise.
The DCH Health System expects each patient or the person guaranteeing the bill to respond to its requests to discuss payment arrangements. Patients who do not respond to the DCH Health System in its good faith effort to contact them are far more likely to find their account referred to outside vendors and the court system for collection. The DCH Health System and its vendors follow all collection practices contained in the Fair Debt Collections Practice Act.
Who Do I Talk To About This Information?
If you have questions about this information, please feel free to discuss them with a Business Office or Admitting representative. You can reach our financial counselors at 759-7278
How to Obtain Copies of Our Policy and Application
In addition to the links above, you may obtain a copy of our Policy and the Financial Assistance application form: (1) in our admissions areas, in our emergency departments, or in any of our patient financial advocate's offices. If you call DCH Customer Service at 205-343-8321 or ask a patient financial advocate, we will mail you a copy of our Financial Assistance Policy, plain language summary and application form free of charge.