Bad debts, charity, and courtesy allowances.
Bad debts, charity, and courtesy allowances are deductions from revenue and are not to be included in allowable cost. However, subject to the limitations described under paragraph (h) of this section and the exception for services described under paragraph (i) of this section, bad debts attributable to the deductibles and coinsurance amounts are reimbursable under the program.
(1) Bad debts.
Bad debts are amounts considered to be uncollectible from accounts and notes receivable that were created or acquired in providing services. “Accounts receivable” and “notes receivable” are designations for claims arising from the furnishing of services, and are collectible in money in the relatively near future.
(2) Charity allowances.
Charity allowances are reductions in charges made by the provider of services because of the indigence or medical indigence of the patient. Cost of free care (uncompensated services) furnished under a Hill-Burton obligation are considered as charity allowances.
(3) Courtesy allowances.
Courtesy allowances indicate a reduction in charges in the form of an allowance to physicians, clergy, members of religious orders, and others as approved by the governing body of the provider, for services received from the provider. Employee fringe benefits, such as hospitalization and personnel health programs, are not considered to be courtesy allowances.
(c) Normal accounting treatment: Reduction in revenue.
Bad debts, charity, and courtesy allowances represent reductions in revenue. The failure to collect charges for services furnished does not add to the cost of providing the services. Such costs have already been incurred in the production of the services.
(d) Requirements for Medicare.
Under Medicare, costs of covered services furnished beneficiaries are not to be borne by individuals not covered by the Medicare program, and conversely, costs of services provided for other than beneficiaries are not to be borne by the Medicare program. Uncollected revenue related to services furnished to beneficiaries of the program generally means the provider has not recovered the cost of services covered by that revenue. The failure of beneficiaries to pay the deductible and coinsurance amounts could result in the related costs of covered services being borne by other than Medicare beneficiaries. To assure that such covered service costs are not borne by others, the costs attributable to the deductible and coinsurance amounts that remain unpaid are added to the Medicare share of allowable costs. Bad debts arising from other sources are not allowable costs.
(e) Criteria for allowable bad debt.
A bad debt must meet the following criteria to be allowable:
The debt must be related to covered services and derived from deductible and coinsurance amounts.
The provider must be able to establish that reasonable collection efforts were made.
The debt was actually uncollectible when claimed as worthless.
Sound business judgment established that there was no likelihood of recovery at any time in the future.
(f) Charging of bad debts and bad debt recoveries.
The amounts uncollectible from specific beneficiaries are to be charged off as bad debts in the accounting period in which the accounts are deemed to be worthless. In some cases an amount previously written off as a bad debt and allocated to the program may be recovered in a subsequent accounting period; in such cases the income therefrom must be used to reduce the cost of beneficiary services for the period in which the collection is made.
(g) Charity allowances.
Charity allowances have no relationship to beneficiaries of the Medicare program and are not allowable costs. These charity allowances include the costs of uncompensated services furnished under a Hill-Burton obligation. (Note: In accordance with section 106(b) of Pub. L. 97-248 (enacted September 3, 1982), this sentence is effective with respect to any costs incurred under Medicare except that it does not apply to costs which have been allowed prior to September 3, 1982, pursuant to a final court order affirmed by a United States Court of Appeals.) The cost to the provider of employee fringe-benefit programs is an allowable element of reimbursement.
(h) Limitations on bad debts—
In determining reasonable costs for hospitals, the amount of bad debt otherwise treated as allowable costs (as defined in paragraph (e) of this section) is reduced—
For cost reporting periods beginning during fiscal year 1998, by 25 percent;
For cost reporting periods beginning during fiscal year 1999, by 40 percent;
For cost reporting periods beginning during fiscal year 2000, by 45 percent; and
For cost reporting periods beginning during a subsequent fiscal year, by 30 percent.
(2) Skilled nursing facilities.
For cost reporting periods beginning during fiscal year 2006 or during a subsequent fiscal year, the amount of skilled nursing facility bad debts for coinsurance otherwise treated as allowable costs (as defined in paragraph (e) of this section) for services furnished to a patient who is not a dual eligible individual is reduced by 30 percent. A dual eligible individual is defined for this section as an individual that is entitled to benefits under Part A of Medicare and is determined eligible by the State for medical assistance under Title XIX of the Act as described under paragraph (2) of the definition of a “full-benefit dual eligible individual” at § 423.772 of this chapter.
Bad debts arising from covered services paid under a reasonable charge-based methodology or a fee schedule are not reimbursable under the program.
(i) Limitation on bad debt.
The amount of ESRD facility bad debts otherwise treated as allowable costs described in § 413.178.
Bad debts arising from covered services paid under a reasonable charge-based methodology or a fee schedule are not reimbursable under the program. Additional exceptions for ESRD bad debt payments are described in § 413.178(d).
[51 FR 34793, Sept. 30, 1986, as amended at 57 FR 33898, July 31, 1992; 60 FR 63189, Dec. 8, 1995; 63 FR 41005, July 31, 1998; 66 FR 32195, June 13, 2001. Redesignated at 69 FR 49254, Aug. 11, 2004, and amended at 71 FR 48142, Aug. 18, 2006; 71 FR 69785, Dec. 1, 2006; 75 FR 49198, Aug. 12, 2010]