Hospitals that pay trustees offer less charity care, study finds
Nonprofit hospitals that paid their board members offered less charity care than facilities that didn't, per a new Health Affairs analysis.
Why it matters: Nonprofit hospitals are required to offer charity care in exchange for their tax-exempt status. But the sector has come under scrutiny for its pricing practices and for saving more in tax exemptions than it provides in uncompensated care.
What they found: From 2011 to 2019, average trustee compensation across all nonprofit hospitals increased by 46%, while the average charity-care-to-expense ratio dropped by 21%.
- This association "suggests that trustees' motivations and activities, as well as the underlying organizational priorities in some trustee-compensating hospitals, may have deviated from hospitals' stated charitable missions," study authors write.
Be smart: Nearly two-thirds of more than 2,000 nonprofit hospitals analyzed as of 2019 still don't compensate their trustees.
- At top-ranked hospitals, board members most commonly have backgrounds in finance, not health care, a February Journal of General Internal Medicine study found.