NONPROFIT CONVERSIONS: Hospital Director Laments Changes In Santa Clara
In a letter to the editor in today's San Jose Mercury News, El Camino Hospital District Director Mark O'Connor expresses "concern that one more Santa Clara County hospital is about to go from nonprofit status to for-profit with the proposed acquisition of Alexian Brothers Hospital by Columbia/HCA system." He outlines three apprehensions he has about the conversion. First, the mission of a nonprofit conflicts with the profit-motive of a for-profit. Thus, the hospital can no longer be expected to care for the community as its foremost mission. Second, six of 12 Santa Clara hospitals are now for-profit, all of which have converted in the past five years. Third, the now-for-profit hospitals have benefited from years of tax-exempt status as nonprofit entities, and the assets that have accumulated were "added to the corporate bottom line." O'Connor concludes: "Some will argue that economic survival was the reason these hospitals have changed their status. But when profit margins and dividend expectations are not met, can we expect more health care delivery to our valley residents or less? Common sense dictates the latter" (8/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.