The recent article “Top not-for-profit hospitals offer less charity care, study finds,” does not tell the full story of how hospitals and health systems improve community health. It also fails to mention the resources dedicated to caring for patients who do not have the ability to pay. The American Hospital Association’s latest publicly available report shows hospitals and health systems spent $41.3 billion on uncompensated care in 2018.
Moreover, hospital and health systems’ commitment goes far beyond the four walls. According to a 2019 analysis, tax-exempt hospitals provided $95 billion in total benefits to their communities in 2016 alone—outweighing the $9 billion value of their tax exemption by a factor of nearly 11 to 1. Hospitals of all kinds provide services tailored to meet the specific needs of their patients and communities. For example, hospitals have dedicated resources to programs that spur healthier eating, promote prenatal care and increase access to community health clinics.
Every hospital and health system is a cornerstone of care: investing in the community, working to best meet patients’ needs, and doing more than any other part of the healthcare sector to advance health and benefit the community—and this will never change.
President and CEO
American Hospital Association