Overview

Health and Safety Code Section 127400-127446 requires the Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI) to collect from each hospital a copy of its charity care policy, discount payment policy, eligibility procedures for those policies, review process, and application form; debt collection policy, and to make this information available to the public. Submitted information will be reviewed to ensure compliance with these reporting requirements. HCAI audit staff will contact hospitals on issues of possible non-compliance to obtain clarification and/or revised information. The submitted information will be made available to the public on our website.

Health facilities operated by the State of California or licensed as a Chemical Dependency Recovery Hospital or a Psychiatric Health Facility are exempt from these requirements.

Submit Hospital Fair Pricing Policies

Fair Pricing Policies must be submitted biennially on January 1 or whenever a significant change is made. Each hospital is required to submit the following policies using the HCAI-developed web application, SYFPHR:

  • The hospital’s charity care/discount payment/debt collection policies and procedures and submitted as a Word (.doc) document or Portable Document Format (.pdf) document.
  • The application form submitted as either a Word (.doc) document or a Portable Document Format (.pdf) document.

Find Hospital Fair Pricing Policies

Most hospitals offer discounts and sometimes free care to those who cannot afford to pay. Eligibility usually depends on a household’s income and the number of people who live in that household. You can view healthcare financial assistance policies and application forms from hospitals here.

Additional Resources

Upcoming Activities

2022 – JANUARY TO JUNE

  • Begin program planning.
  • Begin rulemaking process to define debt collection policy reporting requirements.

2022 – JULY TO DECEMBER

  • Complete rulemaking process for debt collection policy collection and review.
  • Begin rulemaking process for improper billing complaints receipt and investigation and enforcement of the Hospital Fair Pricing Act.

2023 – JANUARY TO DECEMBER

  • Collect and review of initial debt collection policy submissions from hospitals.
  • Complete rulemaking process for improper billing complaints receipt and investigation.
  • Perform design, development, and implementation for improper billing complaint program platform.
  • Collaborate with California Department of Public Health to support transition of enforcement of the Hospital Fair Pricing Act.

2024 – JANUARY TO DECEMBER

  • Assume enforcement of the Hospital Fair Pricing Act from the California Department of Public Health.
  • Begin receipt and investigation of improper billing complaints.

History of Fair Pricing Policies Legislation

Assembly Bill 774 (Chapter 755, Statutes of 2006)

Assembly Bill 774 (Chapter 755, Statutes of 2006) established Hospital Fair Pricing Policies effective January 1, 2007. This legislation requires each licensed general acute care hospital, psychiatric acute hospital, and special hospital to increase public awareness of the availability of charity care, payment discounts, and government-sponsored health insurance; and to standardize its billing and collections procedures.

HCAI is required to collect from each hospital a copy of its charity care (free care) policy, discount payment (partial charity care) policy, eligibility procedures for those policies, review process, and application form; and to make this information available to the public.

Assembly Bill 1020 (Chapter 473, Statutes of 2021)

Assembly Bill 1020 (Chapter 473, Statutes of 2021) expands current reporting and requires hospitals to submit to HCAI the hospital’s debt collection policy, in addition to their existing charity care and discount payment policy. 

Contact

For all inquiries related to the Fair Pricing Program, please contact us via email at fairpricing@hcai.ca.gov or via phone at (916) 326-3830. The Fair Pricing inbox is supported Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST, excluding State of California observed holidays.

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