TONASKET – In an effort to keep patients close to home and to thank local taxpayers for their support, North Valley Hospital debuted a new tax credit program beginning Jan. 1.
Approved by the NVH District Board of Commissioners in November, the program gives property owners within the North Valley Hospital District a discount on hospital services equal to the amount of property taxes paid into the hospital district during the previous year, up to a maximum of $500.
“The aim is both to increase our business and acknowledge and thank the tax payers for supporting us with their tax dollars,” said NVH Business Development Coordinator Terri Orford. “Also, it helps people to have an awareness of what they pay into the district. This gives people credit for what they’re paying into the district and makes them aware of how little they’re really paying, as well as reminding them of the benefit of having the hospital so close to home.”
Patients need to complete a short application form and provide a copy of their local property tax bill that shows the amount paid into the hospital district. The credit can also be applied to legal dependents as claimed on one’s income tax return.
The tax credit can be applied to hospital-related services such as imaging services, rehabilitation, respiratory care, dietary services, Emergency Room services and in-patient costs. It does not apply to expenses associated with extended care.
The policy was modeled after a similar program in use at the Lake Chelan Community Hospital.
“It’s been successful for them for several years now,” Orford said. “What it’s done – and what we hope it does for us – is to encourage people to use the services at our hospital.”
Those who paid, for example, $200 in property taxes to the hospital district can receive up to a $200 credit to their bill for services rendered during that calendar year. Those who paid $501 or more will receive up to a $500 credit.
The credit will be applied to a patient’s balance after the hospital has received payment from an insurance the patient may have. For private pay patients, it can be combined with the hospital’s 20/30 policy, in which a patient paying off a full bill within a 30 days receives a 30 percent discount, or within a year receives a 20 percent discount.
“So you can use that and apply the tax discount as well,” Orford said.
“You’ll have a credit that can be applied to future accounts within the same calendar year,” Orford added, pointing out any remaining balance can’t be rolled over to the following year.
The discount also cannot be applied to delinquent accounts, nor will patients receive cash back in lieu of a reduction to their balance. It must be used within 120 days from the date services were billed, or 120 days from the date other insurance paid all that can be applied to the hospital bill.
The discount will be applied based upon the date the services were rendered; i.e. a patient seen in Nov., 2013, will have the discount applied based upon their 2013 tax bill even if they aren’t billed until 2014.
More information is available on the hospital’s website, www.nvhospital.org, or by calling Krista Harden at (509) 486-3136. Application packets can be printed out from the website or picked up at the hospital’s admitting desk.
“The form is very short and simple,” Orford said. “People have enough forms to deal with as it is, so we wanted to make sure it didn’t take much time or effort to complete it.”