What is the Indigent Care Trust Fund?
The Indigent Care Trust Fund (ICTF) is a state-sponsored program that subsidizes care for low-income individuals at participating hospitals. This subsidized care is available on both an inpatient and outpatient basis, regardless of whether there is an emergency. It can either cover an entire bill or just a portion, depending on income. The hospital must treat these patients the same as any other patient. The hospitals receive a certain amount of money each year to provide this care.
What are hospitals required to do if they receive this money? Hospitals participating in the ICTF must:
- Treat low-income patient for free or on a sliding scale;
- Notify patients being admitted to the hospital as well as the public that it receives ICTF funds;
- Let patients know how to apply for help from the ICTF;
- Have a written financial policy available to the public upon request;
- Not require eligible patients to pay a deposit upon admittance to the hospital;
- Help patients apply for ICTF funds before or after treatment; and,
- Help patients from any county in Georgia, regardless of whether that is the county where they live.
What does the ICTF exclude? For most hospitals, the ICTF does not cover doctor bills or Medicare deductibles.
How do I apply? You can call the hospital’s business office and ask for the person who handles patient accounts or billings, or the hospital’s social worker, if they have one. Once you have contacted the hospital and completed an application, the hospital has five business days to make a decision as to whether you are eligible for free or sliding scale care. You can also complete this application at the hospital.
What do I do if the hospital rejects my application?
Ask the hospital to reconsider your application. If they deny you again, you have the right to appeal to the state for eligibility.
How can I appeal? Send a written complaint to the Department of Community Health (DCH) explaining why you feel the hospital was wrong in denying your application, and request that DCH asks the hospital to change its decision. You will also need to send a complaint to the hospital.
Send the appeal to:
Indigent care Trust Fund, Hospital Reimbursement Services
Department of Community Health
PO Box 38490
Two Peachtree Street, NW
Atlanta, GA 30303-3159
Phone: (404) 463-5827 or (877) 261-3117
For more information, send us a message or contact us at (404) 525-1085.