WA Hospitals Aren’t Fulfilling Legal Duty to Offer Charity Care to Needy Patients, New Study Shows

Hospitals across Washington State are not providing struggling individuals and families adequate access to charity care, according to a new report from Columbia Legal Services.

News Story (Washington)

Ana Sofia Knauf
Stranger (WA)
August 30, 2017

Tags: Health Care

Organizations mentioned/involved: Columbia Legal Services (Washington State)


Without financial assistance from programs like charity care, those who are uninsured or who have low incomes can be “locked in poverty” thanks to medical debts from hospital visits, Ty Duhamel, an attorney with CLS’s Basic Human Needs project, told The Stranger.

Many of the people who aren’t provided the opportunity to receive charity care live under the federal poverty line in more rural areas of Washington. A bulk of the people CLS talked to regarding charity care are employed as hotel, restaurant, and farm workers—”people who don’t have insurance or don’t have adequate insurance,” Duhamel said. About 522,000 Washingtonians are uninsured, according to the report.