OLR Bill Analysis
AN ACT CONCERNING VARIOUS REVISIONS TO THE OFFICE OF HEALTH CARE ACCESS STATUTES.
This bill requires nonprofit hospitals to submit annually to the Office of Health Care Access (OHCA) (1) a complete copy of the hospital's most recent Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 990, including all parts and schedules and (2) data compiled to prepare the hospital's community health needs assessment (see BACKGROUND), in the form and manner OHCA prescribes. The bill requires such hospitals to submit this information along with information they must already report concerning uncompensated care and related matters.
The bill allows the Department of Public Health (DPH) to impose civil penalties of up to $1,000 per day on health care providers or facilities that wilfully fail to complete the questionnaire required as part of OHCA's statewide health care inventory.
It specifies certain details that patient bills must contain for purposes of the law subjecting hospitals to civil penalties and billing adjustments if a patient's bill conflicts with the hospital's schedule of charges on file with OHCA.
EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2013
CIVIL PENALTIES FOR FAILURE TO COMPLETE INVENTORY QUESTIONNAIRE
By law, OHCA must conduct a statewide health care facility utilization study, and update its statewide health care facilities and services plan, every two years. As part of this process, OHCA must maintain an inventory of in-state health care facilities, services, and specified equipment. Current law requires health care facilities and providers to complete an OHCA questionnaire to develop the inventory, but exempts them from penalties for failing to complete it.
The bill instead subjects health care facilities and providers to the general civil penalties that apply to persons or facilities that fail to file data or information with OHCA as required by law.
By law, anyone who wilfully fails to file required information with OHCA within the time periods required by law is subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each day the information is missing, incomplete, or inaccurate. Before DPH can impose such civil penalties, it must notify the party by first class mail or personal service of the violation. The person or entity has 15 business days from the mailing date to apply in writing for a (1) hearing to contest the penalty or (2) time extension to file the data. A final order assessing the civil penalty can be appealed to New Britain Superior Court.
By law, a hospital must file with OHCA its current pricemaster (its detailed schedule of charges). If the billing detail by line item on a patient bill does not agree with the information filed with OHCA, the hospital is subject to a civil penalty of $500 per occurrence, subject to the procedures set forth above (e.g., the hospital has 15 business days to contest the penalty). OHCA can also order the hospital to adjust the bill to be consistent with the charges on file.
For these purposes, the bill replaces references to “patient bill” with “detailed patient bill.” It defines a detailed patient bill as a patient billing statement that includes, for each line item, (1) the hospital's current pricemaster code, (2) a description of the charge, and (3) the billed amount.
IRS Form 990 and Community Health Needs Assessment
The IRS Form 990 is the “Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax” form. In practice, OHCA currently collects this form from nonprofit hospitals on a voluntary basis.
The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires nonprofit hospitals to conduct community health needs assessments at least once every three years, and make the assessments widely available to the public. The ACA also requires such hospitals to include a description of how they are meeting the law's community health needs assessment requirements in their IRS Form 990 filing.
Public Health Committee
Joint Favorable Substitute