By Consumers for Quality Care, on January 4, 2023
Despite a law requiring hospitals to prominently post their financial assistance policies on their website, a Los Angeles Times investigation found that hospitals across the state have yet to comply with these transparency requirements.
Although AB 1020 went into effect in January 2022, hospitals are still not in compliance a year after its implementation.
“You should not have to have an attorney to get what the hospitals are required to give by law,” said Tracy Douglas, an attorney with Bet Tzedek who works on a medical-legal partnership team at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. “That’s what AB 1020 aimed to fix.”
Only after being contacted by the Los Angeles Times did some hospitals begin posting their charity care guidelines.
Bernadette Manigault, a Senior Attorney with Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, said she was “surprised but not surprised” that some hospitals had not posted their charity care policies on their websites. Even when these policies are posted on a hospital’s website, it can be “incredibly difficult to find for the average consumer,” Manigault said. “They have these policies — but you have to really know how to get there.”
CQC urges increased action and oversight by lawmakers and regulators to ensure hospitals are releasing charity care policies in a timely, accessible way that benefits consumers.