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 have created this brochure 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.
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.
Charity Discounts All uninsured patients are informed at the time of registration of their ability to apply for charity consideration. Patients whose income is less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for a charity discount of 100 percent of the amount owed. Lesser charity discounts are approved on an incremental basis and are based on a sliding scale of annual gross income from 150 to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Charity approval is considered upon receipt of a completed charity application and minimal supporting documentation, such as bank statements, tax returns, paycheck stubs, etc. DCH provides approximately $24 million in free care every year.
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.
Self-Pay Discounts 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.
What About Insured Patients Who May Owe the Hospital? If a patient has insurance, they may still owe a deductible or copayment. We will inform patients in advance what that amount will be so they can make advance arrangements for payment.
Collections 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 or concerns about topics covered in this brochure, please feel free to discuss them with a Business Office or Admitting representative. You can reach our financial counselors at 759-7278. – less