Are hospitals not-for-profit?

Patient experience, operations and charity care muddy the waters between for-profit and not-for-profit hospitals. However, hospitals that experienced net gains did not necessarily translate those savings into community-directed spending. Some common partnerships between non-profit community organisations and non-profit hospitals include bereavement support groups, nutrition education, diabetes education and cancer screening. By the late 1990s, religious non-profit hospitals were employing the same efficiency standards that had been pioneered by for-profit hospitals.

While parts of the form request spending amounts for discrete, predetermined categories of community benefit activities, the form requests data inconsistently and leaves a narrative section open to "provide any other information important to describing how the organisation's hospital facilities or other health care facilities further its exempt purpose by promoting the health of the community." They stressed that the state's hospitals had not received a Medicaid rate increase in 10 years and that, although they aggressively lobbied to change this, they deny the interpretation suggesting that their large donations were motivated by the Medicaid rate increase. Last year, when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was fighting to win the Democratic primary, his campaign solicited a donation from the Greater New York Hospital Association, according to a recent report in The New York Times. Non-profit hospitals are often used as teaching and training centres for new doctors, specialists, nurses and allied health professionals. Under the Affordable Care Act, non-profit hospitals must demonstrate that they operate for charitable purposes, providing "benefits to a class of persons broad enough to benefit the community and to serve the public interest.

Partnerships with community organisations allow not-for-profit hospitals to do much more with the resources they have. In terms of patient experience and hospital performance, there is little difference between the two, and the data show that for-profit hospitals actually provide more charity care than not-for-profit hospitals. However, some argue that investments in new technologies may be just as futile for hospitals serving low-income communities, as patients would probably not be able to afford the more advanced (and more expensive) treatment they offer. As a result, not-for-profit hospitals face regular scrutiny from health policymakers concerned about whether the facilities actually deliver and contribute to their communities in a meaningful way that justifies the generous tax breaks they receive.

Although the ACA requires not-for-profit hospitals to adopt an implementation strategy "to meet community needs identified through the CHNA, 95 reporting mechanisms rarely hold hospitals accountable to this standard. For struggling hospitals, especially in communities with scarce healthcare resources, the tax exemption may make sense.

Summer Mason
Summer Mason

Infuriatingly humble twitter fanatic. Professional pop culture lover. Professional twitteraholic. Infuriatingly humble bacon scholar. Typical tvaholic.

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