Nonprofit hospitals' charity care disparities
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Nonprofit hospitals that did the best financially provided less charity care relative to their income than their less-well-off peers, according to a new study in JAMA.
The big picture: Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide charity care in exchange for their tax-exempt status, but they're increasingly under fire for their aggressive bill collection practices against low-income patients.
By the numbers: In 2017, nonprofit hospitals collectively generated $47.9 billion in net income and provided $14.2 billion in charity care.
- The top-earning 25% of hospitals provided $11.50 in charity care for uninsured patients and $5.10 in charity care for the insured for every $100 of their overall net income, the study found.
- But the third quartile of hospitals provided $72.30 in charity care for the uninsured and $40.90 in charity care for the insured for every $100 of their net income.
- Hospitals in states that expanded Medicaid provided significantly less charity care than hospitals in other states.
What they're saying: "Nonprofit hospitals with substantial financial strength should consider more generous financial assistance eligibility criteria to reduce the financial risk exposure of disadvantaged uninsured and underinsured patients," the author concludes.