Attorney General James Announces Historic Agreement with Northwell to Help More New Yorkers Receive Financial Assistance for Medical Care

Agreement with Northwell Expands Eligibility for Financial Assistance, Improves Patient Access to Financial Assistance, and Limits Unnecessary Medical Debt Collection for Uninsured and Under-Insured New Yorkers

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced a historic agreement with Northwell Health (Northwell), New York’s largest health care network, to significantly improve and expand access to financial assistance for millions of New Yorkers at Northwell facilities and clinics across the state, including all 21 Northwell hospitals. As a result of this first-of-its-kind collaborative agreement between Attorney General James and Northwell, uninsured and under-insured New Yorkers receiving necessary medical care and earning under five times the federal poverty level, $75,300 for an individual or $156,000 for a family of four, will be eligible for free or discounted care. Northwell has also committed to dedicating more staff to help patients apply for financial assistance and significantly reducing medical debt collection. This agreement comes after the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) reviewed Northwell’s financial assistance program and Northwell agreed to work with OAG to improve and expand its program. 

“No one should face the choice between putting food on the table or receiving medical care,” said Attorney General James. “Too many New Yorkers delay necessary health care appointments because costs are too high, or end up saddled with debt after receiving emergency care. This agreement will provide critical financial assistance to millions of New Yorkers receiving medical care at Northwell facilities and ease financial worries for many patients concerned about paying their medical bills. I applaud Northwell for their commitment to expanding access to financial assistance and hope that other New York hospitals will follow their lead to expand New Yorkers’ access to necessary medical services.”  

Medical debt can be a significant financial and emotional burden, and disproportionately impacts low-income patients, people who are uninsured or under-insured, communities of color, immigrants, and people with disabilities. Even New Yorkers with health insurance often forego or delay necessary health care because of high deductibles or insufficient coverage.  

Under New York’s Hospital Financial Assistance Law and state tax codes, nonprofit hospitals are required to provide financial assistance to low-income consumers and prohibit predatory debt collection. Today’s agreement strengthens and expands Northwell’s financial assistance program beyond the requirements of the New York Hospital Financial Assistance Law to help more New York patients. 

As a result of today’s agreement, uninsured or under-insured patients earning twice the federal poverty level or less will receive free medical care. Patients earning between three and five times the federal poverty level will receive discounted medical services based on Medicaid or Medicare rates. The OAG and Northwell worked together to simplify Northwell’s public notices on financial assistance to make them more accessible and understandable for patients. 

To limit unnecessary medical debt collection, Northwell will dedicate a Medical Debt Ombudsperson to review accounts before litigation is commenced. The ombudsperson will ensure that the patient has been given ample notice of Northwell’s financial assistance policies and the opportunity to apply for such assistance. The ombudsperson will also ensure there is either a reasonable basis to believe the patient owes the debt, or the patient is not known to be an enlisted service person or a veteran, unemployed,  disabled, or deemed incapacitated, among other factors.

Northwell will keep these policies in place for five years and will provide annual reports to OAG and the Northwell Board of Trustees on its financial assistance program.  

The agreement applies to all 21 Northwell hospitals as well as 56 Northwell clinics in New York City and on Long Island. The Northwell clinics include: 

  1. Northwell Health Multispecialty and Imaging Services in Glen Cove  
  2. Dolan Family Health Center Diagnostic and Treatment Center d/b/a Northwell Health Family Health Center in Huntington Station 
  3. John T. Mather Memorial Hospital Outpatient Rehabilitation in Port Jefferson  
  4. Outpatient Behavioral Health Services in Port Jefferson  
  5. Precision CyberKnife of New York in East Setauket  
  6. Primary Med. Care Outpatient in Port Jefferson Station  
  7. Lenox Hill Hospital Extension Clinic at MEETH in Manhattan  
  8. Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine Clinic in New Hyde Park  
  9. Manhasset Ambulatory Care Center in Manhasset  
  10. Long Island Jewish Medical Center Satellite Dialysis Center in Bellrose  
  11. Far Rockaway Treatment Center in Far Rockaway 
  12. Garden City Treatment Center in Garden City  
  13. Project Outreach Clinic in West Hempstead 
  14. Nassau Day Training Program in Elmont 
  15. Franklin K. Lane School Clinic in Brooklyn 
  16. Long Island Jewish Medical Center - Center for Advanced Medicine in Lake Success 
  17. Northwell Ambulatory Care Center - A Program of Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Rego Park 
  18. Brian Picolo I.S. 53 School Clinic in Far Rockaway 
  19. Far Rockaway H.S. Clinic in Far Rockaway  
  20. John Adams High School Clinic in Jamaica 
  21. Imbert Cancer Center in Bay Shore 
  22. August Martin High School Clinic in Jamaica 
  23. LIJMC (DSRIP) Primary Care Clinic in Glen Oaks 
  24. LIJMC Greenlawn Cancer Center in Greenlawn 
  25. Backstretch-BEST Clinic at Belmont Raceway in Elmont 
  26. Northern Westchester Hospital at Chappaqua Crossing in Chappaqua 
  27. Northern Westchester Hospital at Yorktown Imaging in Yorktown  
  28. NSUH Sleep Studies Center in Great Neck 
  29. The Irving Goldman Family Care Center in Great Neck 
  30. North Shore University Hospital at the Center for Advanced Medicine in Lake Success 
  31. NSUH Comprehensive Wound Care Center and Vascular Access Program in Lake Success 
  32. North Shore LIJ Imaging at Great South Bay in Islip 
  33. NSUH Imaging at Great Neck in Great Neck 
  34. NSUH LIJ Imaging at Syosset in Syosset  
  35. North Shore Imaging at Garden City in Garden City  
  36. NSUH Imaging at Huntington in Greenlawn 
  37. The NSUH Imaging Center at Smithtown in Smithtown 
  38. Peconic Bay Physical Therapy and Rehab Center in Riverhead  
  39. Alcohol Treatment Services in Ossining 
  40. Phelps Psychiatric Clinic in Briarcliff
  41. Phelps at Croton in Croton-on-Hudson 
  42. Imaging Extension Clinic in Dobbs Ferry
  43. South Shore University Hospital Clinic Endoscopy and Pain Management Center in Bay Shore 
  44. South Shore University Hospital Sleep Center Extension Clinic in Hauppauge 
  45. South Shore University Hospital Extension Clinic for Pre-Surgical Testing in Bayshore 
  46. Northwell Health Cancer Institute at Riverhead in Riverhead 
  47. Northwell Health STARS at Bay Shore in Bay Shore 
  48. New Dorp High School Clinic on Staten Island 
  49. Primary Care Clinic on Staten Island 
  50. Chemical Dependence Treatment Program on Staten Island 
  51. Psych/Alcoholism Treatment Program on Staten Island 
  52. Sanford R. Nalitt Institute For Cancer on Staten Island 
  53. Center for Women’s Health on Staten Island 
  54. 256 Mason Ave. Radiology on Staten Island 
  55. Canarsie Multi Service Center in Brooklyn  
  56. Port Richmond High School on Staten Island  

Attorney General James thanks Northwell for its partnership to improve access to affordable medical care for New Yorkers.  

This matter was led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Meghan Faux and Charities Bureau Chief James G. Sheehan, along with Assistant Attorney General and Special Assistant to the First Deputy Gina Bull, Charities Deputy Bureau Chief Karin Kunstler-Goldman, and Health Care Bureau Chief Darsana Srinivasan. The Charities Bureau and Health Care Bureau are part of the Division for Social Justice, which is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Meghan Faux and overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.