The Georgia Hospital Accountability Project broadens accessibility to affordable, safe and effective care at the state’s hospitals for uninsured, underinsured and low-income Georgians by promoting state-level regulations, advocating for hospital policy changes and promoting consumer empowerment through research and analysis, the publication of relevant reports, the engagement of the state’s hospitals and consumer education. Georgia Watch also actively engages key state-level stakeholders, hospital representatives, community leaders and lawmakers in dialogue on these topics.
Highlighting and combating the challenges of low-income, uninsured and underinsured Georgians at hospitals has long been a top priority of Georgia Watch. Since 2007, Georgia Watch has evaluated issues of access and affordability throughout the state, and has conducted detailed analyses of fiscal practices and community benefit offerings of six of the state’s key safety net facilities. In 2009, the organization officially launched its Georgia Hospital Accountability Project.
Through this effort, Georgia Watch:
- Conducts extensive research on community benefit programs and financial assistance policies at nonprofit hospitals, and regularly meets with hospital leaders to discuss challenges to and opportunities for programs within their communities
- Often authors white papers and reports on crucial topics, including an examination of the affect of the new health law on hospitals, the cost of care in Georgia and the need for adequate language services at hospitals. In 2010, Georgia Watch released a report detailing financial access at hospitals within the metropolitan Atlanta area, which delineated other barriers to care for those who are uninsured and underinsured, such as transportation and health literacy
- Actively works with the media, and authors regular op-eds and blog posts dedicated to the project’s core topics
- Engages consumers in its work, and in 2010, surveyed approximately 900 consumers on issues of affordable access at their local hospitals
- Assists numerous consumers on their particular issues, including billing discrepancies, a denial of financial assistance and finding a health care home
- Educates lawmakers, policy makers and advocates on issues of access at hospitals
- Hosts the Health Policy Fellowship, which trains emerging policy leaders on key access and affordability issues
Georgia Watch’s Hospital Accountability Project also actively advocates for transparency and accountability in regards to patient safety at our hospitals. Georgia is one of 22 states that currently do not require public disclosure of hospital-acquired infection rates, which leaves consumers in the dark as to which hospitals are safe and which are not. Georgia Watch is leading the effort to ensure safe care by convening national, state and local stakeholders that will analyze and recommend recourses to make certain patient care is not harmful.