The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Patient Aid Policy

Family picnic

Since its inception in 1949, Hazelden Foundation has served patients and their families by supplementing their personal resources in order that suffering alcoholics and addicts and their family members may obtain treatment and other related services. Providing patient aid is congruent with and fundamentally important to the nonprofit mission, vision and values of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. Because there is a wide disparity in available resources to pay for the treatment of addiction, the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation provides patient aid to maximize access to treatment while balancing the need to sustain the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation mission for generations beyond our own. In addition, accepting personal responsibility to overcome addiction and find recovery is fundamental to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Treatment Model, as is the firm belief that addiction is a family disease. Accordingly, to the extent possible, payment for services is primarily a responsibility of individual patients and their families, if they are willing and able to assist.

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation will continue to play a leadership role in the public policy arena to promote access to treatment and equal funding of treatment for this disease. The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation will continue to raise money from its many friends specifically for patient aid needs. In keeping with our effective stewardship, patient aid is budgeted annually.


The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and its affiliated companies will each provide annually a significant sum as approved for patient aid, which is calculated on a percentage basis of adjusted patient service revenue (total patient service revenue less contractual adjustments). In accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, the first source of funds for patient aid will be funds donated specifically for patient aid, which in some cases may have specific restrictions imposed by the donor.

Patient aid resources are limited and will be used primarily for those who meet our clinical standards for admission and who are most in need of residential care and secondarily for outpatient services and other areas of the continuum of care. Before determination of eligibility for patient aid, prospective patients must meet Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation applicable clinical standards for admission, and admission is also subject to bed availability as determined by facility management.

Determination of Eligibility

In order to promote the health and well-being of the patients and communities we serve, uninsured, underinsured and individuals with limited financial resources will be eligible for discounted treatment services on a program by program basis, based on Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation-established means criteria, which will be used at all facilities with that particular program. To be considered for patient aid, the patient and all other persons willing and able to participate in paying for a person's services must cooperate with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation to provide the information and documentation necessary in order to determine eligibility for patient aid. Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation will adopt standard application procedures for use by patients and other payers.


The determination of eligibility for patient aid will be based on the patient's and participating family members or other responsible payer's ability to pay. Patient aid awards will not be abridged on the basis of age, sex, race, creed, disability, sexual orientation or national origin.

Communication on Patient Aid

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation will include notices regarding the availability of patient aid on its website, and in marketing and program-related materials, and in locations where there is a high volume of admission and or registration related activity. All public information and/or forms regarding the provision of patient aid will use languages that are appropriate to the facility's service area. The amount of patient aid awarded annually will be reported in the Community Benefit footnote to the audited financial statements of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, and the accounting for patient aid shall comply with all accounting standards for charity care issued by the American Institute for Certified Public Accountants.

In addition, this policy will be made available to the public.


Consistent with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation overall policy on confidentiality with respect to our patients, the need for patient aid may be a sensitive and deeply personal issue for recipients. Confidentiality of information and preservation of individual dignity will be maintained for all who seek patient aid. No information obtained in the patient aid application process may be released unless the person providing the information gives express written permission.

Responsible Staff

Financial Case Managers and other Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation employees in patient accounting and billing areas will be fully versed in the the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation patient aid policy, have access to the application forms, and be able to answer questions regarding patient aid. All Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation staff with public and patient contact will be trained to understand the basic information related to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation patient aid policy and procedures and provide patients with printed material explaining the patient aid program.


All Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation programs will use the same patient aid application process and criteria for eligibility on a program by program basis.

Collection Activity

Consistent with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation values and mission, patient billing accounts will not be sent to collection agencies without giving the patient and any other responsible payer the opportunity and adequate time to develop an alternative payment arrangement. If a patient aid determination allows for a percentage reduction but leaves the patient with a self-pay balance, payment terms will be on an interest-free basis. In addition, we will not garnish wages or use liens on primary residences as a means of collecting unpaid bills.


For policy implementation purposes, patient aid is defined in the following manner:

  • (i) "Patient aid" is that portion of residential and outpatient treatment and all other programs in the continuum of care provided by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation for which a third-party payer is not responsible and for which a patient (and his or her other payers) or program participant has the inability to pay. "Patient aid" does not include bad debt or contractual adjustments or allowances. Patient aid may include unpaid coinsurance, deductibles and non-covered services if the person meets the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation patient aid eligibility criteria. Patient aid may be provided from funds that have been received by Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation from third parties and specifically designated for "patient aid" or be provided from the operating cash flow of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation (sometimes referred to internally as "uncompensated care").
  • (ii) Any portion of costs that a patient or program participant is unable to pay can count as patient aid.
  • (iii) The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation may determine or re-determine eligibility for patient aid whenever information relating to eligibility becomes available.
  • (iv) "Bad debt" means expenses resulting from treatment for services provided to a patient and/or other guarantor or payer who, having the requisite financial resources to pay for treatment services, has demonstrated by his/her actions an unwillingness to pay a bill.

This policy was adopted by the Hazelden Board of Trustees on February 23, 2005.