Dec. 21, 2010
Greater Cincinnati hospitals continue to extend an ever-widening safety net for people who need hospital care but are unable to pay for it. A study released today by the Greater Cincinnati Health Council reports that 25 area hospitals provided more than $307 million in uncompensated care in 2009, an increase of nearly 11 percent over the previous year.
The $307,149,037 in uncompensated care reflects a 120 percent increase since 2005 – or a year-over-year growth rate of 17 percent.
Uncompensated care is a term used to calculate the value of medical services hospitals provide to those who cannot afford to pay for their own care and for which no payment is received. The survey records dollars spent on uncompensated care at cost, and does not include funds from Hamilton County tax levies or other public assistance funds and contractual adjustments.
“As a challenging economic climate continues to play itself out in the region, hospitals have responded with an even greater commitment to providing charity care,” said Colleen O’Toole, PhD, Health Council president. “The numbers reported here reflect a significant investment by local hospitals to provide necessary care to the people of their communities, regardless of the patient’s ability to pay.”
O’Toole noted that unexpected medical bills are especially burdensome to those who struggle to pay for basic everyday needs such as housing, food and gas. Even those with partial insurance coverage have difficulty dealing with unforeseen medical bills, she said. Hospitals are putting extra effort toward identifying those who are in need to make sure they get help.
Several factors are driving the increases in uncompensated care, including:
“Uncompensated care covers a wide variety of hospital services for medically indigent patients, including emergency department care. While these rising amounts do present financial challenges for hospitals, treating patients who are not able to afford the cost of their own care is an important part of a hospital’s mission and a significant benefit hospitals provide to the community,” O’Toole said.
The Greater Cincinnati Health Council is a widely recognized association that provides a unique forum where hospital and health care leaders collaborate to create a stronger health care community. For more than 50 years, the Council has served as a trusted voice on hospital and health care issues in the Tristate region.
Bethesda North Hospital
The Christ Hospital
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Good Samaritan Hospital
The Jewish Hospital
Mercy Hospital Anderson
Mercy Hospital Mt. Airy
Mercy Hospital Western Hills
The University Hospital
Atrium Medical Center
Fort Hamilton Hospital
McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital
Mercy Hospital Fairfield
St. Elizabeth Covington
St. Elizabeth Edgewood
St. Elizabeth Florence
St. Elizabeth Ft. Thomas
St. Elizabeth Grant
OTHER SUBURBAN AND OUTLYING
Adams County Regional Medical Center
Brown County General Hospital
Clinton Memorial Hospital
Dearborn County Hospital
Highland District Hospital
Margaret Mary Community Hospital
Mercy Hospital Clermont