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What should I know about Georgia's Indigent Care Trust Fund (ICTF) hospitals?

Authored By: GeorgiaLegalAid.org
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Indigent Care Trust Fund hospitals in Georgia Resources

Indigent Care Trust Fund hospitals in Georgia

What should I know? +

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What is the Indigent Care Trust Fund (ICTF)?

The Indigent Care Trust Fund (ICTF) pays hospitals for health care for low income Georgians. Through the ICTF, many people with low incomes can get either inpatient or outpatient hospital care, even if it is not an emergency.

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What are the responsibilities of hospitals that get ICTF money?

Hospitals that get ICTF money:

  • MUST treat low income persons for free or for a sliding scale fee. Each hospital has a certain amount of free care it must give every year to people who cannot pay.

  • MUST notify people who are admitted to the hospital, patients, and the public that it has ICTF money. It must inform the public how to apply for help from the ICTF. 

  • MUST help people apply for the ICTF before or after treatment.

  • MUST help people from any county in Georgia.

  • MUST accept Medicaid.

  • Must treat people with Medicaid and Medicare the same as others.

  • MUST make sure that doctors will treat Medicaid patients at the hospital for no charge.

  • MUST refer people to doctors who accept Medicaid.

  • CANNOT deny service or transfer a patient because they cannot afford to pay or does not have enough health insurance.

  • CANNOT delay treating indigent people. 

  • CANNOT require people who cannot pay to make a deposit to be admitted.

 

Note that at most hospitals, the ICTF does not cover doctor bills. You can apply for ICTF help with a hospital bill at any time even if the bill is for previous treatment. The ICTF does not cover Medicaid deductibles. You can apply for QMB or SLMB Medicaid to help with Medicaid deductibles.

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What can I do? +

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How do I apply for financial assistance at an ICTF hospital?

Call the hospital’s business office and ask for the person who handles patient accounts or billings. Or, contact the social worker at the hospital. 

 

Once you ask for help, the hospital has five working days to make a decision on your application.

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What if the hospital will not let you apply or says you cannot get help from the ICTF?

There are things you can do if the hospital will not let you apply or if the hospital denies your request for help. 

  • Ask the hospital for reconsideration.

  • If the hospital again denies your request, you can appeal their decision to the state.

    • To appeal, send a written complaint to the Department of Community Health. Explain why you believe the hospital was wrong and ask the agency to make the hospital change its decision. 

    • Give a copy of your complaint to the hospital and send your complaint to the Department of Community Health at: 

Indigent Care Trust Fund, Hospital Reimbursement Services

Dept. of Community Health

PO Box 38490

2 Peachtree St. NW

Atlanta, GA 30303-3159

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Where can I find an ICTF hospital in Georgia?

To find an ICTF hospital near you, call the Georgia Department of Community Health at 1-800-436-7442.

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Resources

  • Learn more about affordable healthcare on the Georgia Watch website (this links to a PDF which may not be fully accessible).

 

Legal Help

  • For help in Fulton, Clayton, Cobb, Gwinnett, or DeKalb County, contact Atlanta Legal Aid. Fill out the Atlanta Legal Aid online intake application or call 404-524-5811 (main line), 404-657-9915 (GA Senior Legal Hotline), to see if you qualify for legal assistance.
  • If you live in any other Georgia county, contact the Georgia Legal Services Program for help. Access the GLSP online intake application or call 1-833-457-7529 to see if you qualify for legal assistance.
Last Review and Update: Sep 08, 2020