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    Help for the Uninsured Patients

    Our Commitment to Low Income Uninsured Patients

    Charity Care

    In recent years, the affiliates of Sutter Health have made great strides in better serving our communities by working together to identify and adopt best practices. In February 2005, Sutter Health affiliates took another important step in this direction by bringing greater and more thoughtful consistency to patient charity care and payment collection practices in the communities we serve.

    Sutter Health's new policy provides fair discounts and catastrophic protection to low income uninsured patients and ensures consistent and fair collection practices while preserving the financial viability that is key to preserving and growing services in the communities we serve.

    The Sutter Health Charity Care and Low Income Uninsured Program is designed to:

    • Provide full charity care to low income uninsured patients earning less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Income Guideline (FPIG). Example: 200% of the FPIG level for a family of four equals an annual income of $44,100.
    • Provide discounts limiting their payment to the equivalent of Medicare reimbursement for our low income uninsured patients earning between 201% and 400% of the FPIG. Example: 400% of the FPIG level for a family of four equals $88,200.
    • Provide catastrophic protection to low income uninsured patients by limiting their payment liability to 30% of their annual household income.
    • Enhance communication of available assistance by expanding communication channels.

    The charity care policy is limited to hospital charges and does not include physician, anesthesiologist or professional charges that are not billed by the hospital.

    Our standardized collection practices prohibit wage garnishments and bench warrants, and prohibit property foreclosures.

    Our Bill Collection Policy

    Sutter Health’s standardized collection practices policy prohibits wage garnishments and bench warrants, prohibits property foreclosures and limits the cases in which liens can be filed. The settlement requires Sutter to continue these policies.

    Notes About These Policies

    The charity care policy, the partial charity care policy, the discount policy for higher income uninsured, the catastrophic protection policy, and bill collection policy apply to all Sutter-affiliated hospitals.

    The Sutter-affiliated medical foundations also have similar policies, including a charity care policy which provides for free care for patients whose income is below 200% of the FPIG, and catastrophic protection and bill collection guidelines which are similar to the hospital policies.

    In Sutter-affiliated hospitals, charity care policies are limited to hospital charges and do not include physician, anesthesiologist or professional charges that are not billed by the hospital.

    For more information on these policies, how to apply or to receive assistance finding health care services, please contact the Resource Center at 209-833-2420.

    If you are an uninsured patient who was treated at a Sutter-affiliated hospital dating back to September 2000, you may be eligible for a refund, depending on whether or how much you may have paid toward your hospital bill. Find out more about eligibility for a refund

    updated 2/09