Our History with Charitable Care
As a faith-based, not-for-profit healthcare organization, providing health care free of charge to the needy has been an integral part of Baptist Health’s mission throughout our history in South Florida.
Neither state nor federal laws mandate a level of charity care, but Baptist Health is deeply committed to providing compassionate, high-quality care to insured and uninsured patients alike. One of the guiding principles of Baptist Health is to never refuse medically necessary care to an uninsured resident of our community who is unable to pay. We believe Baptist Health’s charity care policy is a model in the industry.
Charity care means providing free services to uninsured patients who do not have the means to pay. When we provide charity care, we know from the outset we will not receive any payment and agree to treat the patient for free. Another type of non-reimbursed health care is Medicaid shortfalls, the difference between what the State of Florida pays us and our cost.
As Florida’s uninsured health crisis has worsened, we have amplified our efforts both to provide charity care to those who need it and to make the public aware of this assistance through community outreach efforts, advertising and information given to our patients.
The State of Florida defines charity care as free care given to people with household incomes up to twice the poverty level. We don’t stop there. We provide free health care to people with household incomes up to three times (300 percent) the federal poverty level. For example, for a family of four, the poverty level is $24,300 a year, so a family with a household income of up to $72,900 would qualify for charity care.
The amount of charity care provided varies with each Baptist Health’s hospital location and the economics of its service area. Homestead Hospital, for instance, provides 9 percent of its services free to uninsured patients, the highest percentage of any hospital in Miami-Dade County. Mariners Hospital provides 6 percent of its services as charity care. Both hospitals are located in areas where part-time or seasonal workers may not have access to health insurance.
In addition to our 12 hospitals and neighborhood-based outpatient centers, we work hand-in-hand with other organizations and with our doctors to provide free care through four community-based primary care clinics: the Open Door Health Center in Homestead, the Good News Care Center in Florida City, Good Health Clinic in Tavernier and the South Miami Children's Clinic.
Our collection practices are reasonable and compassionate. We offer interest-free installment payment plans and discounts to self-pay patients.
Our charity care policy reflects our desire to give back generously to the community we serve. We cannot unilaterally solve the health insurance crisis, but we remain true to our mission to deliver top-quality health care to those in need of our services, regardless of their financial status.
Qualifying for Charitable Care
As a faith-based organization, we are serious about our mission to help those in need. We provide discounted care to people who have no health insurance and who qualify for our financial assistance program.
Uninsured patients may qualify for discounts depending upon family income. We provide free health care to people with household incomes up to three times (300 percent) the federal poverty charity care assistance is available only for medically necessary services. Amounts due under the financial assistance program are limited to amounts generally billed to individuals with health insurance.
The criteria we use for determining financial assistance eligibility are reviewed annually. The criteria may be revised upward or downward by the Baptist Health governing board, which consists entirely of community volunteers.