What Exactly Does "Widely Publicized" Entail?
In the previous blog, we focused on defining the Financial Assistance Policy (FAP), which will outline how your patients can get help, if they need it. The next step is to make sure your patients know that financial help is available. How? Well, according to the 501r, you are required to take measures to widely publicize the FAP. Here’s what that means:
Make the FAP Available on the Web
A full version of your organization’s FAP must be easily accessible on your website. Make sure that all assets are also available for readers to see.
For many people, the first place they will look for information regarding how to qualify for charity care is on the web. Make this web publication as reader-friendly and easily-understood as possible.
Have Paper Copies of the FAP Available
A printed, paper version of the FAP should also be available in public locations in the hospital. If a patient were to request information regarding your Financial Assistance Policy, it should be easy for them or your staff to find (in other words, it should not be kept at only one specific desk on one specific floor).
Notify Patients of the FAP by Mail or on Paper
Current patients receiving medical aid should be given a paper copy of your FAP during the time they are under your care. A paper copy should also be sent by mail to your list of patients who may not currently be receiving care, but who may need financial assistance in the future. This is to ensure that all of your patients understand help is available.
Identify and Notify the Areas of Your Community Most in Need
Your charitable hospital may have a specific area or neighborhood nearby that might benefit greatly from your FAP. One of the best ways to widely publicize your assistance plan is to target these areas with a mailing campaign.
Send printed copies of your financial assistance policy to the areas you think would need the most help. Include a letter, letting them know how to qualify for charity care.
Notifying the public of your Financial Assistance Policy is a big undertaking, and it must be done properly in order to maintain your tax exempt status. VARO can help your establishment remain compliant. For more information, including our free 10-step 501r checklist, click here.