By Rims Barber

There is a provision of the new Health Reform Law that will help sick Mississippians this year. Nonprofit hospitals will have to meet new indigent care requirements.

Mary Jo went to the hospital recently and was given a bill of over $15,000. She was uninsured and unable to pay more than about $20 per week. It would take her about 15 years to get out from under this debt. Many hospitals are established as private nonprofit entities, and are expected to give back charity care to the community in exchange for their tax-exempt status.

The new Health Reform Law, passed by Congress this year, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, amended Section 501c(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It now requires nonprofit hospitals to publish guidelines for financial assistance, explain who is eligible, and how a person can apply for assistance.

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