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Old 12-10-2010, 06:35 AM
1 posts, read 8,053 times
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The county hospital where I live in Seattle called Harborview offers something called "charity care" for patients who are poor. I am very sick and need to get to a hospital, but don't have any money. I'm wondering when I get to the hospital do I need to explain right when I get there that I can't pay and need charity care? or should I wait for them to ask me how I am going to pay.

I have never gone to the hospital like this and am wondering what should I say about not having any money to pay. I just don't want to make it seem like I'm there just to get the free medical by mentioning it without them asking.
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Old 12-10-2010, 10:13 AM
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Probably the best way to properly get the free medical care at Harborview is to go to a community clinic first like Country Doctor or Odessa Brown, and they'll probably ease the way.
But just go and get the care you need. Harborview regularly treats patients as "charity care". The hospital is owned by the public.
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Old 12-12-2010, 02:00 AM
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Every hospital is required to have some degree of charity care. Harborview is owned by the public and is affiliated with UW, so they have more charity care cases than most hospitals because they are able to delegate more funds towards charity care.
But here is the thing I am wondering...
Do you understand what charity care is? Charity care is where the hospital agrees to forgive a portion or sometimes all of a medical bill, based on a case-by-case process. It isn't always a complete debt forgival - You may still end up paying for a large portion of your bill, even though technically you are a charity care case.
Unfortunately, you don't just get to walk in out of the blue and say "Yes, I would like the carity care program." This is because while they have moneys delegated for just such cases, it is limited money. So they are going to look at what illnesses you have, your income (which you will have to provide statements of), and then decide how much funding they can afford to forgive off of your bill. A lot of times this is arranged and handled by a case manager. Do you have a case manager? If your illness is cancer, you can contact Cancer Lifeline and ask to speak with Peter Boyle, who handles cases like this.
You can also call Harborview and ask to speak with a case manager or social worker on staff and explain your situation. That would probably be the best way to get the ball rolling, as they would be the most familiar with what would need to be provided and what you could expect for a financial outcome. Or if they didn't have the answer, they would know who would.

Anyway, hope this helps.
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Old 12-17-2010, 11:47 AM
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If you are sick, just go to the hospital. The registration staff will know how to put you in contact with the people that you need to speak to about how to pay for your care.

Swedish Medical Center - Charity Care

Billing and Insurance, Frequently Asked Questions | UW Medicine, Seattle
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Old 02-02-2013, 03:48 PM
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I just want to know my gradpa came from back home about 3 month ago and je become sick here and we took him to harborview hospital but we are unable to pay all his bills we talk with doctors they said charity qill help you . When we talk with charity they said he came here recently ,our finical representive tell you how much you have to pay . But we are unable to pay can somebody help us what we have to do
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