A recent Modern Healthcare article analyzing charity care spending by 20 large health systems “gives readers an inaccurate and incomplete picture of how hospitals and health systems provide tremendous benefit to both patients and their communities, and do so while facing many challenges in delivering care,” AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack writes in a letter to the editor published in the magazine this week. Charity care, which is care provided for free or at reduced prices to low income patients, “is only one part of how a hospital benefits its community,” Pollack notes. “It does not account for the total community benefit provided, including the many programs and services that hospitals tailor to meet the specific needs of their particular community….An Ernst and Young report released last October demonstrates that for every dollar invested in non-profit hospitals and health systems through the federal tax exemption, they deliver $11 in benefits back to their communities in the form of health care services. No other health care sector can claim anything close in terms of providing such value for the public benefit it receives.”

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