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(1) The legislature finds and declares that there is a need for health care information that helps the general public understand health care issues and how they can be better consumers and that is useful to purchasers, payers, and providers in making health care choices and negotiating payments. It is the purpose and intent of this chapter to establish a hospital data collection, storage, and retrieval system which supports these data needs and which also provides public officials and others engaged in the development of state health policy the information necessary for the analysis of health care issues.
(2) The legislature finds that rising health care costs and access to health care services are of vital concern to the people of this state. It is, therefore, essential that strategies be explored that moderate health care costs and promote access to health care services.
(3) The legislature further finds that access to health care is among the state's goals and the provision of such care should be among the purposes of health care providers and facilities. Therefore, the legislature intends that charity care requirements and related enforcement provisions for hospitals be explicitly established.
(4) The lack of reliable statistical information about the delivery of charity care is a particular concern that should be addressed. It is the purpose and intent of this chapter to require hospitals to provide, and report to the state, charity care to persons with acute care needs, and to have a state agency both monitor and report on the relative commitment of hospitals to the delivery of charity care services, as well as the relative commitment of public and private purchasers or payers to charity care funding.
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