Not-for-Profit Community-Based Hospitals Offer Majority of Care to Low-Income Patients, Report Says
California's community-based, not-for-profit hospitals provide the majority of services for low-income, underserved and emergency patients, according to a new report sponsored by the not-for-profit hospital system Sutter Health, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The study, conducted by the health management-consulting company Cattaneo & Stroud, examined data submitted to the state by California hospitals in 1999. The report's findings include:
- Not-for-profit, community-based hospitals (excluding the Kaiser system and government-run county and university systems) represent 46% of facilities statewide, while "investor-owned" hospitals account for 30% (Mascaro, Los Angeles Daily News, 12/7).
- Not-for-profit hospitals saw 61% of the state's emergency room visits in 1999, compared to 17% seen at for-profit facilities.
- Not-for-profit hospitals provided care for 54% of Medi-Cal beneficiaries, compared to 21% at for-profit facilities.
- Not-for-profit facilities provided seven times more charity care than their for-profit counterparts. In 1999, not-for-profit hospitals provided 73% of all unfunded charity care in the state.
- Of the 47 trauma centers statewide, 32 are in not-for-profit facilities, compared to five in for-profit facilities (Baker & Associates release, 12/4).
However, Tenet Health Care, one of California's largest for-profit hospital systems, disputes the findings, saying for-profit hospitals offer care "in proportion to the number of facilities statewide." Tenet spokesperson Greg Harris said, "The bottom line is, initially we would be somewhat skeptical [of the findings]. We know in Los Angeles County alone, the largest non-county providers of Medicaid are Tenet hospitals. Community outreach, community benefit are very important to us." Harris added that "if not-for-profits benefit from financial aid, the government should extend comparable tax cuts and other assistance to for-profit institutions" (Los Angeles Daily News, 12/7). The report is available at http://www.cattaneostroud.com/nonpros/mission_critical_report.pdf. Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report.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.