Many Not-For-Profit Hospitals Spend Less Than 2% On Charity Care
Media outlets ponder the financial status of not-for-profit hospitals, as well as the challenges facing those in rural communities. Also in the news, the hospice industry continues to fare well.
Modern Healthcare: Out In The Open
Hospitals that receive hefty tax breaks to provide community aid spend a small fraction of their budgets on free and discounted medical care for those who cannot afford to pay. A Modern Healthcare analysis of new federal data on the sector's spending found subsidized medical care accounted for 1.52 percent or less of total expenses for about half of hospitals operated by more than 1,800 not-for-profits. Two out of three hospitals spent less than 2 percent. The median profit margin was 3.13 percent (Evans and Carlson, 12/19).
The Spokesman Review/The Seattle Times: Talk At Federal, State Levels Alarms Rural Hospitals
Many of Eastern Washington's small hospitals are bracing for cutbacks as federal and state governments look to save money…. Twice this year, the federal government has pointed to its "critical access hospitals" program as ripe for change. The White House believes it can save $6 billion over the next decade by trimming the Medicare dollars it sends to these 1,300 hospitals stretched across the country. A worse prospect for regional hospitals, however, is the continuing budget woes of state government (Stucke, 12/18).
The Washington Post: Aided By Referral Bonuses, Hospice Industry Booms
Hospice care, once chiefly a charitable cause, has become a growth industry, with $14 billion in revenue, 1,800 for-profit providers and a base of Medicare-covered patients that doubled to 1.1 million from 2000 to 2009 (Waldman, 12/17).
In other marketplace news, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on retail clinics -
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: When To Use A Drugstore Clinic
As Americans increasingly pay more out of pocket for their health care, millions are turning to retail clinics -- often located in pharmacies or grocery stores and requiring no appointment -- as a more convenient, cheaper alternative to a primary care doctor…..The benefit of these walk-in clinics, however, depends on a consumer's situation. Because they are significantly cheaper, retail clinics often appeal to people who are uninsured and have to pay out of pocket, said RAND researcher Ateev Mehrotra (Williams, 12/19).