Not-for-Profit Hospitals Drawing Criticism for Moves Out of Cities
Not-for-profit hospital chains are closing unprofitable facilities in Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark, N.J.,Â and other cities nationwide and opening new hospitals in more affluent suburban areas, raising concerns about whether the hospital chains are fulfilling their obligations that qualify them for tax exemptions, the Wall Street Journal reports.
In exchange for providing benefits to their communities, not-for-profit hospitals are exempted from many taxes.Â A key service that the hospitals provide is treating uninsured patients.
As an example of the trend, the Journal profiled Ascension Health, the largest not-for-profit hospital chain in the U.S.Â Last year, Ascension closed its third hospital in Detroit in a decade; Riverview Hospital was the last hospital in a troubled part of the city.
Ascension is proceeding with plans to open a new $224 million hospital in an affluent suburb where more residents have private health insurance.Â
Robert Hoban -- chief strategy officer of St. John Health System, the Ascension subsidiary that operated Riverview -- said that the community has greater need for more from primary care physicians than a hospital.Â He said St. John is considering options to provide more primary care in the area.
However, critics of the move said the hospital closure actually pushed doctors out of the area (Martinez, Wall Street Journal, 10/14).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.