The Hill Burton Program was established under legislation enacted circa 1946 under the Hill Burton Act.Essentially, the program is designed to provide free or significantly reduced medical costs for patients who earn under $98T in income. The facility has a mortgage to pay off and in exchange for mortgage forgiveness, free or reduced cost medical care is given to local patients. The program has worked well the 66 years of its existence.
In medical schools, students and faculty provide the medical care. Rosters of local patients are registered for care. The medical diagnosis and care are rendered. Then, the facility receives a proportionate share of mortgage forgiveness based upon the level of care given locally. The program applies to medical and dental schools, as well as local neighborhood clinics and some nursing homes.
What services are covered under the Hill-Burton program? Each facility chooses which services it will provide at no or reduced cost. The covered services are specified in a notice which is published by the facility and also in a notice provided to all persons seeking services in the facility. Services fully covered by a third-party insurance or a government program (e.g., Medicare and Medicaid) are not eligible for Hill-Burton coverage. However, Hill-Burton may cover services not covered by the government programs.
Where can I get Hill-Burton free or reduced cost care? Hill-Burton obligated facilities are obligated to provide a certain amount of free or reduced-cost health care each year. Obligated facilities may be hospitals, nursing homes, clinics or other types of health care facilities. See the Hill-Burton Obligated Facilities List to find a Hill-Burton obligated facility in your State. You may apply for free or reduced-cost care before or after they are provided at the Admissions Office, Business Office or Patient Accounts Office at the obligated facility.
Who can receive free or reduced cost care through the Hill-Burton program? Eligibility for Hill-Burton free or reduced cost care is based on a person's family size and income. Income is calculated based on your actual income for the last 12 months or your last 3 month's income times 4, whichever is less. You may qualify if your income falls within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines or, at some facilities, if your income is as much as twice (or triple for nursing home services) the poverty guidelines. For complete information on the Hill-Burton program, including the list of facilities obligated to provide it and a link to the poverty guidelines, please see the Hill-Burton Web site.
What does "income" include? Gross income (before taxes), interest/dividends earned, and child support payments are examples of income. Assets, food stamps, gifts, loans or one-time insurance payments are examples of items not included as income when considering eligibility. For self-employed people, income is determined after deductions for business expenses. For more specific information, see the revised poverty guidelines.
When can I apply for Hill-Burton assistance? You may apply for Hill-Burton assistance at any time, before or after you receive care. You may even apply after a bill has been sent to a collection agency. If a hospital obtains a court judgment before you applied for Hill-Burton assistance, the solution must be worked out within the judicial system. However, if you applied for Hill-Burton before a judgment was rendered and are found eligible, you will receive Hill-Burton even if a judgment was rendered while you were waiting for a response to your application.
Is United States citizenship required for Hill-Burton eligibility? No. However, in order for a person to have a Hill-Burton eligibility determination made, one must have lived in the U.S. for at least 3 months.
Can I apply for Hill-Burton assistance on behalf of an uninsured relative or friend? Yes. You can apply for Hill-Burton assistance on behalf of any patient for whom you can provide the information required to establish eligibility, (i.e., you must be able to provide information regarding the patient's family size and income.)
Do I have to wait until I am sick before I can apply for Hill-Burton assistance? Hill-Burton is not health insurance. In order to apply for Hill-Burton assistance you must have already received services or know that you will require a specific service in the near future.