Health Care Reform Could Be Lowering Charity Care Expenses At Ya - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Health Care Reform Could Be Lowering Charity Care Expenses At Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital

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 YAKIMA, WA.- Thanks to some changes tied to the Affordable Care Act, some hospitals across the nation are considering the idea of dropping their charity care programs. Charity care helps patients who can't afford insurance or their medical bills

 At Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital they're actually starting to see more patients  who were previously uninsured, signing up for medicaid.

 Because of that, their charity care bills have dropped from about 1.4 million dollars a month, to around 500,000 dollars. 

 Hospital officials say this could be a direct effect of the Affordable Care Act, but they say it's too early to tell.

"Health care reform is still so early on it's really hard to say this is happening directly because of this, when you mix demographics and state and federal policy change," Tim Reed the CFO at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital told us.

Reed says it's really about meeting the health care needs that the  community requires.

He says while they may re-define the charity care policies, they won't ever do away with it.

 Much of the money saved from last year will go toward research projects at the hospital.