Nonprofit Hospitals and Charity Care|
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I’m Doug Hawthorne, president and CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”
Today, 45 million Americans lack health insurance. Texas, unfortunately, has the largest proportion of uninsured people in the country – with 5.4 million or 1 of every 4 residents.
And the uninsured are not just the unemployed or homeless. The largest segment of uninsured people have jobs but don’t purchase health insurance if available to them.
What do uninsured people do when they need health care? Often they delay seeking care because they’re concerned about the out-of-pocket cost. That delay can lead to them becoming sicker, making treatment more expensive. When they do seek care, they often turn to the hospital’s emergency department, which is the most expensive place to get treatment.
Who makes up the shortfall when the uninsured can’t pay? In Texas, nonprofit hospitals provide a combination of charity care, community benefit programming and losses in government-sponsored programs at a level at least equal to 5 percent of the system’s net patient revenue. In addition, Texas Health Resources hospitals, and most other nonprofits, have discounts and financial assistance available to help those who can pay some but not all of their expenses.
Since its founding in 1997, Texas Health Resources hospitals have provided more than $500 million in charity and unreimbursed Medicaid care to the financially and medically indigent in North Texas.
For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.