In the post Affordable Care Act environment, charity care programs remain an important feature of the safety-net landscape in many communities, typically offering or organizing free- and reduced-cost care to individuals. Federal policy changes, such as decreased funding for navigation services, raise questions about the role charity care programs see themselves playing in the immediate future.

Through support from Kaiser Permanente Community Health, the Center for Health Care Strategies recently conducted an informal survey of charity care programs across the country to explore how these programs see their role in the changing health care environment. This brief summarizes key themes identified from the survey responses, including that charity care programs: (1) connect diverse populations to a wide range of human services beyond health care; (2) predict an increase demand for services through 2020; and (3) plan to rely on existing funding sources, but have concerns about funding commitments.