CHARITY CARE: Private Hospital Coalition Formed
A new coalition of private hospitals wants to demonstrate to the federal government that public facilities are not the only ones that care for the poor. The Coalition of Private Safety-Net Hospitals is the newest voice in a "growing list of health care niche groups," Modern Healthcare reports. The 69-member coalition is "intended to be short-lived," said consultant Charles DeBrunner, who heads the group in addition to his duties as executive director of the National Association of Urban Critical Access Hospitals. He said, "Its goal is not to lobby but to educate people about much care private hospitals give to the poor." In coming weeks, the group plans to release a study, Discovering the Safety Net, which is intended to "assess the role of private hospitals in delivering care to the poor." The coalition has 33 nonprofit members and 36 for-profit members; more than half of its members are in California, where the coalition "emerged" last year. California Healthcare Association spokesperson Mary Wallace said, "We encourage our members to get involved in anything that may directly affect their hospitals."
Richard Wade, senior vice president of communications for the American Hospital Association, said the growing number of hospital splinter groups "paints a picture ... that there is more division among the field than there really is." But Thomas Scully, President of the Federation of American Health Systems, which represents investor-owned hospitals, disagreed: "There's a perception out there that public hospitals do all the indigent care. There are a lot of private nonprofit and private investor-owned hospitals that are doing a lot of indigent care and in many cases all the indigent care in the community, but that's not the perception" (Bellandi, 6/29 issue).