- The Progressive Pulse - http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org -

How much does your hospital spend on charity care?

[1]Most hospitals in North Carolina are non-profit and receive big sales and property tax breaks. The hospitals are then expected to act like non-profits and provide various community benefits.

Hospitals in our state help fund community clinics and provide medical education among other services. And now, more than ever, hospitals are operating as safety net medical providers for people who fall through the fractures of our broken system.

For people without the means to pay, hospitals provide care and write off the charge. The North Carolina Hospital Association [2] posts “community benefit reports” on its website that describe how much hospitals spend on free care, and the latest numbers are out.

You can see a big uptick in charity care for 2008. Duke Hospital, for example, provided $18.5 million in charity care in 2007 compared to $28.5 million in 2008. Presbyterian Healthcare provided $19.6 million in charity care for 2007 compared to $29.2 million in 2008.

Hugh Tilson at the North Carolina Hospital Association, Bill Roper at UNC, and Bill Atkinson at WakeMed publicly support health care reform this year. With these staggering numbers all of our state’s hospital leaders should be equally vocal in calling for action.