Patients are required to provide extensive documentation to substantiate their financial status including bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns, etc. and are assigned a sliding-fee-scale plan, ranging from five to 75 percent patient responsibility. Plans are loosely based on percentages of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) with the lowest plan representative of 100 percent FPL and the highest at 300 percent FPL. Doctors Care does take into account qualifying expenses (e.g., rent/mortgage, higher education, medical payments, etc.), making it possible for someone earning more than 300 percent FPL to qualify.
For new and returning applicants, Doctors Care provides Group Information Sessions (GIS) twice weekly that cover the following patient procedures and programs (see Quick Reference Guide):
After the GIS, eligibility counselor volunteers conduct the preliminary assessment of potential patients by evaluating their geographic and financial eligibility. Their comprehensive medical history and current life status (including financial and mental/behavioral health issues) are also recorded.
Patients complete a short survey during the intake interview to assess feelings about themselves and their lives. Those who indicate during the interview or the survey that they are struggling with mental/behavioral health issues are encouraged to meet with a mental/behavioral health practitioner. Following these meetings, the mental/behavioral health practitioner sends a patient assessment report to the primary care provider. This communication is designed to encourage collaboration between the physical and mental/behavioral health providers to address the full spectrum of a patient’s needs. It also provides a record of a patient’s mental/behavioral health status at the onset of their participation in the program.
Patients are assigned a sliding-fee-scale percentage payment based on financial eligibility, as well as a primary care provider and a partner hospital during the intake process. The Patient Care Coordinator serves as a consultant to uninsured patients by navigating them through the health care system and to external community resources for additional assistance. Patients found to be eligible for existing programs (e.g., Medicaid or employer sponsored insurance) are referred and assisted in enrollments.
“One of the most important things to know about care coordination is that it takes a lot of communication, cooperation, flexibility and patience. It takes communication between the coordinator and provider so that each is on the same page as the patient, and the coordinator and patient so they understand how the program works in order to maximize his or her care. A great many of our patients are very grateful to the care they receive through Doctors Care, and it is such a pleasure to help them get better. However, it is even more satisfying when a patient is invested in helping themselves just as much or more than I am!”