Frequently Asked Question

What is asked of me when I volunteer?
Volunteer providers determine the number of patients they are willing to treat each year. HAP patients are scheduled like insured patients, and they should be treated like any other patient in your practice. If diagnostic services such as laboratory work, x-rays, or other tests are needed, you may choose to donate these if you regularly perform these procedures in your office, or HAP staff will assist you in arranging for these services at participating facilities. After you have seen a HAP patient, you should call or write the referring doctor just as you do for any other patient in your practice. Your office staff should submit a standard billing and coding form (HCFA-1500) to HAP in order to track the value of the care you have donated.
How can I be assured that my pledge will not be exceeded?
HAP maintains a centralized tracking system to assure that HAP does not refer you more patients than you pledged. Careful tracking of referrals creates an equal distribution of patients across participating physicians.
Who can receive this care?
Often, individuals without health insurance are working in one or more low-wage jobs without health benefits—earning too much to qualify for programs like Medicaid, but not enough to afford health insurance and still meet other essential needs such as food, clothing, and housing. To be eligible for the Health Access Project, patients must live in the Salt Lake area, be uninsured or underinsured, and not qualify for other public assistance programs. The income limit is 150% of the Federal Poverty Level, which is determined based on family size.

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If I am already treating a low-income, uninsured patient, can I enroll them in the Health Access Project?

If you are currently providing charity care for a low-income, uninsured patient who you feel would benefit from HAP services, please download an enrollment form. If the patient meets HAP eligibility requirements, we will enroll them in the Health Access Project.

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Can HAP guarantee that patients will show up for their appointments?
 Patients sign a patient responsibility contract with HAP agreeing to keep all appointments. Project staff remind patients about their appointments the day before. In addition, HAP case managers work with patients to help them address barriers, such as lack of transportation, so that they can keep their appointments. Patients may be discharged from the program for poor compliance.
Are interpreters available?
 HAP will arrange a medical interpreter to accompany all non-English speaking patients to their appointments.
Can Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners see HAP patients?
 Yes, the mid-level providers in your office can provide care for HAP patients.
What if I am a group-employed physician?
Intermountain Healthcare and University Healthcare support the Health Access Project. The Intermountain Medical Group has given approval for physicians to individually choose to volunteer with HAP. University Healthcare has agreed to accept a set number of HAP patients as a group.
What about malpractice coverage?

In 2003, the Legislature passed a bill offering immunity to providers who are donating care to needy patients through a charitable organization. In order for volunteers to receive immunity, patients must sign an agreement acknowledging that they are waiving their legal rights to sue in return for receiving free care. HAP requires all patients to sign an agreement upon enrollment. However, it is recommended that providers also have patients sign an agreement in their office and keep a copy in the patients’ medical record. Some types of care are not covered by the bill. View additional information on immunity for volunteer providers or download sample agreement.

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Are there existing charity care programs?
A significant amount of charity care is offered by our medical community, but until now, it has not been systematized or properly recognized. We are working in partnership with established charity care programs and plan to quantify what is already being done. We also hope to expand the number of physicians providing charity care…
Has this type of project proven to be successful elsewhere?
The Salt Lake County model was patterned after Project Access in Buncombe County, North Carolina. With an 85% participation rate from local physicians, Buncombe County was able to decrease primary care utilization of the ER from 28% in 1995 to 8% in 1998 by Project Access patients. Eighty percent of Project Access clients reported their health was better or much better after Project Access, 25% reported the Project helped them return to work, and half of former Project Access patients now have health insurance. The total value of charity care provided by Buncombe County hospitals was reduced by 15% over a three-year period, as uninsured patients obtained preventive and primary care services.

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