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'The Business of Health Care Report'

The Nonprofit Safety Net (Part 2)
01/24/2005

I’m Doug Hawthorne, president and CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

In 2003, Parkland Hospital and John Peter Smith Health System provided less than half of the hospital charity care in the Metroplex. Nonprofit hospitals actually provided more of the charity care.

Nonetheless, the tax-exempt status of nonprofit hospitals is under attack in a misguided attempt to generate additional tax revenues. The tax-exempt status, however, is what makes it feasible for nonprofit hospitals to provide a large share of charity care and to reach out with community programs for prevention, wellness and the under served.

One such program run by Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas in conjunction with Parkland in the Vickery Meadows neighborhood has resulted in a dramatic decrease in the number of patients using the emergency department in place of a physician’s office. It has resulted in a significant increase in the effectiveness of health care provided to people in need.

The safety net of care has been weakened with reimbursement cuts in in Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Those cuts force more families to forgo appropriate, effective care. They likely will end up in emergency departments. That could be avoided with successful collaborations like the Vickery Meadows clinic.

It’s critical that Dallas-Fort Worth business and community leaders work together to address health care issues. Collaboration is the key to success.

For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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