CHAPTER 108

LEVY COURTS--KENT AND SUSSEX COUNTIES INDIGENT SICK

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 43 OF THE REVISED CODE OF DELAWARE, 1935, RELATIVE TO LEVY COURTS BY PROVIDING FOR THE RELIEF AND CARE OF THE INDIGENT SICK OF SUSSEX COUNTY.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:

Section 1. That 1249, Section 103 of Chapter 43 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, be and the same is hereby amended by striking out 1249, Section 103 of said Chapter and inserting in lieu thereof a new section, to be known as 1249, Section 103, as follows:

1249. Section 103. The Levy Court of Kent County is hereby authorized and directed to appropriate and set aside the sum of Fifteen Thousand ($15,000.00) Dollars annually, and the Levy Court of Sussex County is hereby authorized and directed to appropriate and set aside the sum of Twenty-five Thousand ($25,000.00) Dollars annually to provide hospital treatment and care of the indigent sick of said respective counties.

Section 2. That Chapter 43 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, be and the same is hereby amended by repealing (but only in so far as the same shall apply to the Levy Court of Sussex County and the County of Sussex) the following sections thereof: 1250. Section 104; 1251. Section 105; 1252. Section 106.

Section 3. That Chapter 43 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, be and the same is hereby amended by adding after 1216. Section 70, of said Chapter, the following new sections, to be known as 1216A. Section 70A; 1216B. Section 70B; 1216C. Section 70C; 1216D. Section 70D; and 1216E. Section 70E, as follows:

1216A. Section 70A. The Levy Court of Sussex County is hereby authorized and required to use such fund for the alleviation

and succor of all indigent sick persons of Sussex County requiring hospital treatment and care and every person, firm, partnership, copartnership or corporation now or hereafter engaged in the operation of a hospital within the State of Delaware for the treatment and care of the sick and ailing which shall have been approved by the Medical Council of Delaware as hereinafter prescribed and which hereafter accepts, treats and cares for an indigent sick person of Sussex County requiring hospital treatment and care, as that term is hereinafter defined, shall be entitled to be paid therefor from out of said fund for such hospital treatment and care at a per diem rate to be determined by the Levy Court of Sussex County after taking into consideration the amount on hand in said fund and available therefor: which per diem rate shall in no event exceed four dollars 04.00) per diem nor shall any such person, firm, partnership, copartnership or Corporation be entitled to claim payment for the hospital treatment and care of any one indigent sick person of Sussex County during any one sickness or illness for more than forty-two (42) days, except in extraordinary cases where the nature of the patient's illness or injury shall render it impossible to remove such patient from the hospital at the expiration of said forty-two (42) days; in which case the claimant shall transmit to the Levy Court of Sussex County a full written statement, signed by the attending physician of such patient and showing (1) the nature of the patient's illness or injury, (2) that the patient cannot be safely removed from the hospital at the end of forty-two (42) days and (3) that in such physician's opinion a specified additional period of days of hospital treatment and care is necessary to the health and proper treatment of such patient. If the Levy Court of Sussex County to which the bill for any such last mentioned patient is to be presented shall approve an exemption of hospital treatment and care beyond said forty-two (42) days it shall notify said claimant to that effect and shall indicate in writing how long it will approve such treatment and care beyond said forty-two (42) day period.

Nothing contained in this Section shall be construed as mandatory upon any person, firm, partnership, co-partnership or corporation engaged in the operation of a hospital within the State of Delaware to accept, treat and care for any indigent sick person or persons of Sussex County requiring hospital treatment and care.

Upon the written request of any person, firm, partnership, copartnership or corporation now or hereafter engaged in the operation of a hospital within the State of Delaware for the treatment and care of the sick and ailing, the Medical Council of Delaware shall cause the hospital facilities maintained by such person, firm, partnership, co-partnership or corporation for the treatment and care of the sick and ailing to be examined under its supervision and, if upon such examination said facilities for the treatment and care of the sick and ailing meet with the approval of the Medical Council of Delaware, that Council shall certify that fact unto the Levy Court of Sussex County and without such approval so certified unto the Levy Court of Sussex County no person, firm, partnership, copartnership, or corporation now or hereafter engaged in the operation of a hospital within the State of Delaware for the treatment and care of the sick and ailing shall be entitled to any payments authorized by this Act. After having once approved any such hospital facilities, the Medical Council of Delaware may of its own motion or at the request of the Levy Court of Sussex County shall re-examine such hospital facilities from time to time and, in any event, not less than once every two years, and should it for any reasonable cause deem it necessary to withdraw such approval it shall certify that fact unto the Levy Court of Sussex County and the claimant operating such hospital facilities shall be entitled to no further benefits hereunder until the approval thereof by the Medical Council of Delaware be again had.

1216B. Section 70B. After making due allowance for all expenses by it incurred or anticipated in the administration of the fund as herein provided, the Levy Court shall determine on or before July 1st of each calendar year hereafter the amount that will be available during the succeeding year, beginning with July 1st for distribution to and among the claimants thereto and shall divide that amount into four equal parts as nearly as may be and at the end of each three months quarter of such year shall distribute one

of such parts, together with any balance which may remain in the fund from the next preceding quarter after payment of all approved claims filed for such preceding quarter, equitably among such claimants who have duly filed claims therefor.

Claims for hospital treatment and care of indigent sick persons of Sussex County during any quarter of such year shall be filed with the Levy Court of that County not later than ten (10) days after the end of the quarter during which such treatment and care was rendered. Such claims shall be upon forms to be furnished by the Levy Court as a part of the expenses of administering the fund and shall set forth the following information: (1) the name of the patient to whom hospital treatment and care was rendered; (2) his or her place of residence; (3) the length of time he or she has been a resident of the State and Sussex County; (4) the number of days during such quarter that hospital treatment and care was rendered; (5) the disease, illness or injury from which he or she was suffering; (6) the name of the attending physician or physicians; (7) the fact that his or her financial ability to pay therefor has been investigated by the claimant, or a responsible person acting in behalf of the claimant, together with a short statement of the facts disclosed by that investigation relating to the indigency of such patient or any other person or persons legally responsible for such patient's hospital expenses if any such other person or persons there be; and (8) such further information as the Levy Court may from time to time prescribe and require.

Every claimant to the fund and each of them shall designate and appoint some responsible person connected with the hospital operated by such claimant to investigate, prepare and file claims thereto on its behalf and the name of such person shall be certified unto the Levy Court of Sussex County. No claim shall be allowed unless it shall have been subscribed by such responsible person on behalf of the claimant who shall likewise take oath or affirmation and execute an affidavit before a Notary Public as to the truth and correctness of the facts contained in such statement of claim.

1216C. Section 70C. The term "indigent sick person of Sussex 'County requiring hospital treatment and care" shall be construed to mean anyone with respect to whom any practicing and licensed physician of the State of Delaware shall have certified in writing to any person, firm, partnership, co-partnership or corporation operating a hospital in the State of Delaware as suffering from a disease, illness or injury requiring hospital treatment and care; who shall have been a bona fide resident of this State for a period of six months and of Sussex County for a period of at least three months prior to his or her admission to such hospital (excepting in cases of infancy where six months bona fide residence in the State and three months bona fide residence in the County of the mother of such infant shall be sufficient); and who shall take oath or affirmation in due form of law and execute an affidavit before a Notary Public certifying that he or she and any other person or persons legally responsible for his or her hospital treatment and care, if any there be, is or are in fact indigent or wholly or partly unable to pay for such treatment and care, together with a brief statement of facts showing such person or other person or persons, if any there be, is or are indigent and wholly or partly unable to pay for such treatment or care: provided that if the patient be physically or mentally incapable of taking such oath or affirmation or executing such affidavit the next responsible relative, guardian or trustee, as the case may be, shall take oath or affirmation and execute such affidavit in the patient's behalf.

The notary fee for the affidavit provided for in this Section shall not exceed the sum of Ten Cents (10c) for each affidavit.

The affidavits and certificates of physician provided for in this Section shall be kept in a separate file at the hospital wherein such indigent patient shall receive treatment and care and shall be subject to examination at any time by the Levy Court of Sussex County or its representative or investigator.

1216D. Section 70D. If any claimant or any person acting on behalf of any claimant shall knowingly make false statements in

any statement of claim or knowingly take false oath or affidavit with respect thereto or if any patient or any other person acting on behalf of such patient shall knowingly make any false statement with respect to the indigency of such patient or any other person or persons legally responsible for such patient's hospital treatment and care or knowingly take false oath or affidavit with respect thereto, he or she shall be deemed to be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to such fine or period of imprisonment or fine and period of imprisonment as shall be imposed by the Court in its discretion.

1216E. Section 70E. The Levy Court of Sussex County is hereby authorized and directed to carefully examine all claims filed for payment out of such fund; to prescribe and require such claims to be filed upon forms to be furnished by it; to make proper inquiry concerning claims so filed; to examine the accounts of the claimants with respect to care and treatment furnished to indigent sick under the provisions hereof as well as the files of the claimant with respect to doctors certificates and affidavits of indigent sick as hereinbefore prescribed; to investigate whether or not such patients are in fact indigent and unable to pay for such treatment and care either in whole or in part; to amend or correct any list of claims filed by any claimant by striking therefrom any claim therein set forth which the said Levy Court shall determine to be not in accordance with the provisions hereof; and, after such revision and correction, to approve such list of claims and direct the payment thereof at the per diem rate established by the Levy Court at the end of each quarter by taking into consideration the amount then available for distribution and the number of patient days of hospital treatment and care rendered during such quarter unto the indigent sick of Sussex County requiring such treatment and care for which claims shall have been filed: which payment shall be made not later than the twenty-fifth day after the end of any given quarter.

an investigator, should it determine in its sole discretion that the services of such investigator are necessary to properly administer the fund, whose duties it shall be to make all such investigations as may be required or found necessary with respect to the indigency of any person for the hospital treatment and care of whom a claim is filed; the treatment and care rendered unto the indigent sick by claimants to the fund; the records and files maintained by hospitals with respect thereto; the claims filed by claimants to the fund and all other matters and things which the Levy Court shall prescribe and require of such investigator with respect to the administration hereof. Such investigator, when appointed, shall hold office at the discretion of the Levy Court and shall be paid for his or her services out of said fund at a rate to be fixed by the Levy Court; provided, that such rate shall not exceed the sum of one hundred and twenty-five 0125.00) dollars per month for both salary and expenses.

The amounts paid unto the investigator employed by the Levy Court shall be deducted from the fund as a part of the cost of administering the same.

Section 4. All amounts heretofore set aside by the Levy Court of Sussex County for the care and treatment of the indigent sick of said County shall go to make a part of the "SUSSEX COUNTY INDIGENT SICK FUND" hereby established and shall be administered by the Levy Court of Sussex County in accordance with the terms hereof.

Section 5. All acts and parts of acts inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.

Approved May 4, 1939.