For-profit hospitals skip less profitable services
Nonprofit and government-owned hospitals are more likely to offer relatively unprofitable services than for-profit hospitals, according to a new study published in Health Affairs.
Why it matters: Nonprofits' financials are often evaluated based on factors like how much charity care they offer and how they pursue patient debt.
- But the study argues that it's also important to look at which services hospitals offer — including when considering policy that would require nonprofits to offer more free care.
The big picture: Nonprofit hospitals — which are tax-exempt — have repeatedly come under fire over the last several years for aggressive debt collection practices, like lawsuits and wage garnishments.
- But the study's authors warn that requiring nonprofit hospitals to offer more uncompensated care could have unintended consequences.
- "Because most nonprofits have small or negative margins, onerous free-care requirements may force them to eliminate relatively unprofitable services that disproportionately benefit poor patients," the authors write.