Question: We pay independent physicians for covering our financial assistance patients (no insurance/under insured) in the ER and inpatient setting. The program meets the medical needs of the poor and vulnerable. Can we count the payment to physicians for services to financial assistance patients in our hospital? This would relate to paying the hospital's clinic doctors and other independent physicians for covering our charity ER and inpatients.
Recommendation: We recommend that payments to physicians for services in the hospital and ER for patients who meet the organization's financial assistance policy count as community benefit because it meets the community benefit objective of improving access to care. Be sure to have a letter or contract that specifies that the funds paid specifically are for the purpose of covering costs for patients receiving financial assistance and be careful not to double count with ER subsidized service (if applicable) or with what you report as the cost of financial assistance.
(Updated June 2012)