NoHLA – OneAmerica Report Urges Consumer Reforms at Yakima Regional and Toppenish Hospitals
Yakima Regional and Toppenish Hospitals Fail to Provide Sufficient Charity Care, a new report released by NoHLA and OneAmerica, calls for both hospitals to do a better job of ensuring that lower income patients who qualify for charity care actually receive it.
The report features a study of the hospital levels of charity care provided to low-income patients. Washington requires all hospitals to provide charity care, but Yakima Regional and Toppenish have not been doing their fair share. The study found that although Yakima Regional is the most profitable hospital in Central Washington, it provides a significantly lower level of charity care than the regional average.
To remedy these longstanding problems, NoHLA and OneAmerica recommend that the Department of Health require the following measures as conditions of sale and before any transaction is finalized:
- Maintain all existing charity care conditions in the 2004 certificate of need evaluation
- Appoint an independent monitor for charity care compliance
- Require that the hospitals designate an ombudsperson
- Review and revise hospital charity care and collections policies and procedures
Yakima Regional and Toppenish hospitals are owned by for-profit Community Health Systems based in Franklin, Tennessee. They are currently up for sale to an as-yet-undisclosed buyer. The report recommends changes before the sale takes place.
UPDATE: NoHLA and OneAmerica Submit Comments on Certificate of Need Application
Following up to the work done last year regarding charity care in the Yakima Valley, NoHLA and OneAmerica recently submitted comments in response to the Certificate of Need application submitted by Regional Health, which is acquiring both Yakima Regional and Toppenish Hospitals. Our comments express concern about the hospitals' low levels of charity care and recommend that the state condition its Certificate of Need on strong, enforceable charity care requirements at both hospitals.