Immediately following World War II, Congress sought to modernize hospitals, nursing homes and neighborhood clinics by providing grants and loans for badly needed construction. In 1946, Sens. Lister Hill and Harold Burton sponsored PL79-725, the Hospital Survey and Construction Act. Upon enactment of this legislation, the federal government commenced a program for providing grants for major health facility construction programs.
In exchange, facilities agreed to provide medical services to persons unable to pay. The medical services were made available to all persons residing in the area of the medical facility. Today, nearly 200 health care facilities nationwide are obligated to provide free or reduced cost care to thousands of patients.
The steps to apply for the Hill-Burton covered services are simple. First, you must find a Hill-Burton facility near you from a list of obligated facilities. Next, go to the facility business office or admissions and state that you need free or reduced cost care. The office will explain the application procedure and the services offered by the medical facility in accordance with Hill-Burton's provisions. Essentially, the facility will provide you with free or reduced cost medical/dental or even nursing home services in exchange for forgiveness of their mortgage debt obligation. So, both parties benefit from the program.
Hill-Burton medical facilities are chartered to provide a specific amount of free/reduced cost care yearly. Obligated medical facilities publish an allocation plan annually. The allocation plan includes the income criteria for individuals and families, as well as the types and amounts of services the facility intends to provide at little or no cost. There are no obligated facilities in the following states: Alaska, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.
Hill-Burton medical facilities are required to post a notice in their admissions and/or emergency room that says: "NOTICE - Medical Care for Those Who Cannot Afford to Pay." In addition, each facility must provide a written statement listing the types of qualifying services available under Hill-Burton, the qualifying income levels for care and how long the facility may take in making the eligibility determination. The Hill Burton Hotline is 1-800-638-0742.
To qualify for Hill-Burton eligibility determination, the patient must have lived in the U.S. for at least three months. Hill-Burton assistance can be provided for an uninsured relative or friend, as long as eligibility requirements have been met.