Financial Assistance Policy Dissemination
Massachusetts requires that nonprofit and for-profit hospitals disseminate information about their financial assistance policies as a condition of reimbursement from the Health Safety Net Trust Fund.

In 2007, Massachusetts established a Health Safety Net Trust Fund as part of the state’s health care reform framework. The Trust Fund reimburses nonprofit and for-profit hospitals and other health care providers for medically necessary services provided to eligible uninsured and underinsured Massachusetts residents with family income below 400 percent of the federal poverty level or who qualify for medical hardship status. Mass. Gen. Law 118E § 69; 101 Code Mass. Reg. §§613.04 and 613.05. To be eligible for reimbursement from the Health Safety Net Trust Fund, hospitals must post large, legible signs notifying patients of the availability of financial assistance “and other programs of public assistance.” The signs must be posted in the inpatient, clinic, and emergency admissions/registration areas, as well as in the business office. 101 Code Mass. Reg. 613.08(e).

In addition, hospitals must supply individual notice of the availability of financial assistance programs to patients who are expected to incur charges, specifying that the hospital offers a payment plan to low-income and medical hardship patients. 101 Code Mass. Reg. 613.08(d).

In addition, the Voluntary Guidelines recommend that all nonprofit hospitals describe and make available to the public “any program through which the hospital offers discounts from charges for the uninsured or medically indigent.” This should occur during the patient intake and registration process, or as soon thereafter as possible, and notice should be included on hospital bills. Voluntary Guidelines, pp. 28-29.