Hospital Benefit Program Is Launched In Oregon

Hospital Benefit Program: A new study from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) details the state’s efforts to put into effect House Bill 3076, a law passed in 2019 by the Oregon Legislature that mandates reinvestment of a portion of the money made by nonprofit hospitals into the surrounding areas.

Hospital Benefit Program Is Launched In Oregon

To help more people, including those with incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty level, receive the care they need, the Oregon Hospital Association (OHA) established minimum spending requirements for nonprofit hospitals under House Bill 3076 and collaborated with them to create policies that expand access to financial aid. Protections against hospitals directing patients to collections before determining their eligibility for financial aid are also provided under the new rules for medical debt in Oregon.

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According to OHA’s chief financial officer, “We realize medical debt is a serious concern for many Oregonians,” David Baden. There are new financial aid policies in effect that can make a significant impact. Greater health equity in our communities is a priority for OHA, and the organization will keep pushing for awareness and compliance to that end.

Hospital Benefit Program Is Launched In Oregon
Hospital Benefit Program Is Launched In Oregon

In September 2020, OHA formally started the regulatory process to establish the new Hospital Community Benefit Program. The agency canvassed all of Oregon’s counties for potential RAC members, and the RAC ultimately developed a system for allocating mandatory community investment. At every stage, OHA collaborated with non-profit hospitals in Oregon, advocates for patients, and health care economists. There was a community benefit conference held by OHA in July 2022 to help hospitals through the change.

The following are some of the report’s main conclusions:

  • The financial aid programs of hospitals are, for the most part, consistent with the latest regulations. Minimum standards for financial aid have been incorporated into hospital policy. The majority of hospitals have revised their medical debt policies to include new safeguards against being sent to collections and incurring interest.
  • There is still a lack of easy ways for patients to get financial aid. The good news is that consumer effects and medical debt are on the upswing, but the bad news is that disparities persist and need to be addressed. OHA will keep on working to educate patients about their rights by keeping an eye on how closely states follow their regulations on medical debt, checking to see if individuals are screened for financial aid, and suggesting ways to streamline the application and approval processes.
  • The minimal budgetary standards for the current fiscal year have been approved by all Oregon nonprofit hospitals. All of the participating hospitals have agreed to the budget restrictions set for them as of December 2022. Strong participation with partners has allowed for a successful launch despite the program’s beginning during the COVID-19 epidemic.
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In order to ensure that hospitals have the information they need to comply with HB 3076, OHA will maintain its strong collaboration with the healthcare community. After September 2023, we will share information from the first year of implementation.

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