The Role of Nonprofit Hospitals in Providing Charity Care 02/14/2005
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 5.3 million. That’s one of every four residents.
And the uninsured are not just the unemployed or homeless. The largest segment of uninsured people have jobs – but no health insurance.
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 are required to provide charity care equal to a specific percentage of patient revenue. In addition to providing charity care to those who cannot pay, Texas Health Resources hospitals, and most other nonprofits, have 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 $450 million in charity care and community benefit to the financially and medically indigent in North Texas. THR hospitals work 24 hours a day, seven days a week to care for patients – regardless of their ability to pay.
For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.