Update regarding charity care at Providence

October 3, 2022 Providence News Team
This article is an update from our response to the New York Times article published on Sept. 24.

Dear caregiver,   Thanks to your compassion and dedication to the Mission, the Providence family of organizations continues to be here for everyone, regardless of ability to pay. It’s a legacy that our founding Sisters entrusted to each of us.

That is why it was so painful to read the coverage in The New York Times over the weekend. The allegations were shocking and upsetting. As I read the story, I did not recognize the organization that was being described because it is not the organization we serve. I am sorry you had to read it, and I want to assure you that what was shared in the paper is not an accurate reflection of who we are.   Please know we are reaching out to each of the patients featured in the article to talk with them about their experience and ensure they have the financial assistance they need. We are taking this incredibly seriously and don’t want financial hardship to ever get in the way of needed care or the healing process.   The crux of the Times’ allegations is that we intentionally changed our policy to send those who were eligible for charity care to collections. This is categorically untrue. What happened is that an unintended error occurred when we shifted from a manual process to an automated one, causing some Medicaid patients to receive collection notices. The error was brought to our attention, and we fixed it in December 2021.   About 760 individuals across the family of organizations paid toward bills they shouldn't have received as a result of this error. We deeply regret that this happened and have been reaching out to those who were affected and issuing repayment, including interest.   In 2021, Providence provided $1.9 billion in community benefit. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion, more people in our communities who would have previously qualified for charity care are now covered by Medicaid. So while our charity care has gone down slightly over the years, our cost to cover unpaid Medicaid has increased.  We are proud that in 2021, we provided charity care to 266,000 individuals in need and absorbed $1.2 billion in uncompensated costs resulting from serving patients covered by Medicaid. We continue this strong commitment, despite trying financial times across all of health care.   Again, I recognize how painful it has been to read and process the recent news coverage. It has been hard for us all, especially our financial counselors and revenue cycle caregivers, who serve those in need with respect and compassion every day.   I am incredibly proud of each of you. Thank you for continuing to live the Mission and for making an important difference in the lives of others. Serving those in need, especially those who are most vulnerable, is — and always will be — at the heart of who we are, just as it has been for more than 165 years.   Greg Hoffman Chief Financial Officer   We know there are many questions. Please see this FAQ for additional information about questions caregivers have asked. 

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