Pa. hospitals lag in charity care for the poor: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

Summary: “Of the state’s 170 hospitals in 2014, Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, above, and 106 others, or 63 percent of them, provided charity care equal to less than 1 percent of their net patient revenue, according to an analysis of data from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council,” Sean D. Hamill writes in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in a thoughtful analysis you should cite next time someone starts talking about charity care or uncompensated care. “Pennsylvania Hospital, the country’s first hospital, was founded by Ben Franklin and others in Philadelphia in 1751 ‘to care for the sick-poor and insane.’ It adopted as its official seal the Good Samaritan and the motto ‘Take care of him and I will repay thee.’ But today, Pennsylvania Hospital, like most of the state’s hospitals, provides little free charity care to the poor, compared to other states, according to an investigation by the Post-Gazette using state data never previously made public. Of the state’s 170 hospitals in 2014, Pennsylvania Hospital and 106 others, or 63 percent of them, provided charity care equal to less than 1 percent of their net patient revenue, according to an analysis of data from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council. That same data shows that Pennsylvania Hospital, still operating out of its stately, original red brick and marble main building not far from some of the poorest neighborhoods near Center City in Philadelphia, is part of an even more troublesome category: It is one of 39 hospitals in the state — 23 percent of them — that provided less than one-quarter of 1 percent in charity care, and 10 of those said they provided no charity care at all.” Sean D. Hamill, “Pennsylvania hospitals lag other states in share of charity care for the poor,” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.