Supply Costs for Sliding Fee Patients

What supply costs can you pass along to sliding fee patients?

  It is allowable to pass along costs of certain supplies to sliding fee patients if the supply is not considered part of the prevailing clinical standards of care. This may include items such as eyeglasses, prescription drugs, and dentures. If a health center decides to charge for the costs, there must be processes in place for notifying the patients of such charges prior to the time of service. For example, patients receiving a standard eye exam may be prescribed corrective lenses. Corrective lenses are not part of the prevailing clinical standards for an eye exam. Therefore, the cost of the corrective lenses purchased may be passed on to the patient. On the other hand, if the patient was treated for a wound, including irrigation, suture, and dressing supplies, these items are considered to be part of the clinical standards of care. Thus, the cost of these supplies is part of the visit and would be included in the sliding fee discount. The flexibility to charge for supply costs is not dependent on the related service type (dental, optometry, medical), but on the relationship between the supply or equipment and the prevailing clinical standards of care. For the clinical standards of care, health centers can defer to licensing boards and professional standards of practice in these areas.

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