Report: NY Nonprofit Hospitals Put Profits Before Patients / Public News Service
A review of nonprofit hospitals in New York found they care more about making money than about patient care.
According to a patientenrightsadvocate.org survey of more than 2,000 hospitals nationwide, only 6 out of 101 New York hospitals audited complied with federal regulations requiring all hospitals to post rates online and make them easily accessible.
Donna Christensen, board member of Consumer for Quality Care, noted that some people delay treatment because of such factors. She described what needs to be done to ensure nonprofit hospitals improve.
“Hospitals must comply with the legal requirements that the IRS has imposed on them for their tax benefits in order to provide that care,” Christensen claimed. “And to make sure they can show what they’ve spent some of their savings on providing charity care.”
A bill was introduced in the US House of Representatives in 2022 to hold nonprofit hospitals accountable. Additional information from the Lown Institute’s Hospital Index found that New York City hospitals run a “fair share deficit” of more than $1.6 billion by taking tax breaks far exceeding what they spend on welfare and charitable care for patients low-income spenders.
Christensen noted that nonprofit hospitals have an obligation to work with low-income patients to ensure they can afford the care. But data from Rand Corporation shows that patients with private insurance are billed, on average, 301% more than Medicare patients.
She argued that nonprofit hospitals know what to do, but what matters is actually doing it.
“Some of them would spend some of that money to create new businesses or services that provide more income, or raise the salaries of their executives and fail to meet their obligations to the lower-income and needy people in their community,” Christensen explained.
She pointed out that predatory medical debt collection tactics by nonprofit hospitals also need to be regulated. According to the Community Service Society’s Discharged in Debt report, 112 nonprofit hospitals sued more than 53,000 patients statewide between 2015 and 2020.
In 2022, two bills were signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul to ban medical liens and wage liens and regulate facility fee billing.
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