Charity Care



It is the policy of Sweetwater Hospital Association to provide quality healthcare services to patients regardless of their ability to pay/and or their ethnic origin.

Charity discounts are available to all patients who apply and are deemed eligible.  Charity discounts are available to those who are uninsured and earn up to 100% of the amounts published in the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

For patients not eligible for financial assistance, it is the policy of Sweetwater Hospital Association to permit patients, where eligible, to make regular payments on a monthly basis.  Sweetwater Hospital Association utilizes external collection firms for debt collection as needed.

It is the policy of Sweetwater Hospital Association to:

  1. Treat all patients equally with dignity, respect and compassion.
  2. Serve the emergency health needs of everyone regardless of their ability to pay.
  3. Assist patients who cannot pay for all or part of care received at Sweetwater Hospital Association.
  4. Respond promptly to the patient’s questions regarding accounts and requests for financial assistance.
  5. Make information available to patients regarding the financial policy and charity care.
  6. Have clear understanding of written policies to help patients determine if they are eligible for hospital-sponsored financial assistance programs.
  7. Have written policies regarding discounts to patients who do not qualify under the charity care policy.
  8. Ensure that outside collection agencies follow hospital billing and collection guidelines.


The intent of Sweetwater Hospital Association’s charity policy is to establish a fair and equitable system for determining discounts.  General guidelines are established, allowing for evaluation of unique financial circumstances.

A patient is determined eligible by income standards when the annual family income does not exceed 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines as published annually in the Federal Register.  Proof of income must be provided by the patient or their representative.  Proof of income can be in the form of an income tax return or bank statements related to monthly social security benefits, etc.  Patients must request financial assistance by contacting Sweetwater Hospital Association and completing the Charity Care Application.   An evaluation of available assets will be necessary to determine eligibility for charity.  If assets exist to pay the debt, charity may be denied.

Applications for assistance are available at Sweetwater Hospital Association between the hours of 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday from the Patient Accounts Representatives.

Program Guidelines:

  1. Charity care eligibility is evaluated on the basis of available assets as well as gross family income.
  2. Charity applies only after all other resources have been exhausted.
  3. A determination of the applicant’s eligibility is made promptly after completion of the application.
  4. Income guidelines:  To be eligible for the program, gross family income must be at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) as shown below:
Family Size                 100%  FPG
(76% discount)
1 Person <$12,140
2 Persons <$16,460
3 Persons <$20,780
4 Persons <$25,100
5 Persons <$29,420
6 Persons <$33,740
7 Persons <$38,060
8 Persons <$42,380

For families with more than 8 members, $4,320.00 annually is allowed for each family member.

Patients with incomes below 100% of the federal poverty guidelines will be eligible for a 76% charity write off.

Uninsured, Self Pay Patients Private Pay Automatic Discount:

Maximum Collections from the Uninsured

A Private Pay discount will be applied to all self pay accounts who do not qualify for charity care or other payment sources.  The discount will be applied automatically during the billing cycle.  The discount calculation is based on the Cost to Charge Ratio as published by the Tennessee Hospital Association each year.  As of March 2018 Sweetwater Hospital’s Private Pay Discount off total charges for Private Pay accounts is 60%.

Monthly Payment Arrangements:

Patients are permitted to make monthly payment arrangements for amounts owed.  Efforts will be made to collect balances in full by cash, check or credit card prior to establishing payment arrangements.  Sweetwater Hospital Association will not charge interest on outstanding balances.  Long term arrangements are discouraged wherever possible.  Typically payment arrangements are limited to 2 years.  The minimum monthly payment can be no less than $25.00 unless approved by the Chief Financial Officer or Administrator.

Use of Outside Agencies/Attorneys:

When it is determined that the patient has not responded to request for payment, an account may be referred to an outside collection agency or attorney for collection assistance.


When appropriate, Sweetwater Hospital Association reserves the right to seek judgment for those patients who have refused to pay outstanding accounts.


For more information regarding Sweetwater Hospital Association’s charity policy, applicants may contact the Patient Account Representatives at 865-213-8539.