Uncompensated Care In Public Hospitals Essay

2633 words - 11 pages

Public hospitals, as a primary destination for low-income residents seeking medical care, play a crucial role in our society. Through constant changes in the healthcare system of our nation, these institutions remain true to their mission of caring for disadvantaged populations who lack stable access to health care. Over the past decade, the government experienced increasing difficulty in operating public hospitals due to scant revenue generation and constant budgetary constraints. In 2010, while the average national hospital profit margin was approximately 7%, public hospitals have hovered around 2%, which often resulted in operating at a negative margin when factoring in Medicaid reimbursements.1 These financial shortages are intensifying and hospitals are forced to forgo renovations and routine maintenance to stay solvent. In 1999, one out of four hospitals was public, and by 2010, this number decreased to one out of five2, signifying the growing instability of such institutions.
The burden of providing uncompensated care, for which no payment is received from the patient or the insurer, carries an enormous financial liability for public hospitals. Costs of such services have skyrocketed from $3.1 billion to $45.9 billion in the past 30 years.3 As the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is implemented to overhaul the delivery of healthcare, uncertainties arise for public hospitals. It is likely that over 32 million people who are expected to gain coverage through PPACA by 2016 will seek care at their local public hospitals.4 Even if some of these patients decide to choose competing private providers, public hospitals must still be prepared for the other 23 million who are expected to remain uninsured by 2019.5 With such forecasts, it is certain that the services of public hospitals will continue to be heavily sought in the aftermath of the health reform.
Even disregarding the health reform, the recent increase in uninsurance and unemployment rates6,7 has led to vulnerable populations turning to public hospitals as their main source of care. But it is often mysterious, especially to physicians as well as the patients, which options exist if one cannot afford to pay for their treatments. Especially for illegal immigrants and those ineligible for Medicaid, the lack of public awareness for financial assistance programs can discourage such populations from seeking medical care. This in turn ultimately contributes to the rising healthcare expenditure if their conditions worsen and require higher complexity of care.
The purpose of this article is to enhance our understanding of the financial health of various public hospitals across the nation. We mainly focus on our own affiliated New York City’s Health and Hospitals Corporations (HHC). We also explore various charity care programs implemented to assist those who cannot pay for their care. Finally, we analyze the implications of the new health reform on future...

Find Another Essay On Uncompensated Care in Public Hospitals

Evaluation - Does Health Care Measure Up?

858 words - 3 pages mean the difference between staying open or operating in the red for some small hospitals. In a similar way, as many inner-city regions lose the services of General Practitioners, the sick in these areas turn to hospital emergency rooms for basic care. In fact, emergency departments have become the most common source of in-patient admissions, as much as 50% in many inner-city hospitals, according to a 1991 National Association of Public

Specialty Hospitals Finally Regulated by PPACA

1254 words - 6 pages further growth of the threat to the ability of public hospitals to bring enough revenue to be able to afford their charitable community services. According to Spatz et al. (2012), that conflict became more prominent with the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in 2010; which largely increased the federal funding for community health centers to mainly help the uninsured and underinsured population. Although this

Community Health Center for the Uninsured and Undocumented Immigrants

1874 words - 8 pages Community Foundation. • PGWHC Grant Watch Program. Works Cited Campbell, Y. (2011). New governance in action: Community health centers and the public health service act. Journal of Health Law & Policy, 4(2), 397-425. Chang, J. et al. (2012). Does state budget pressure matter for uncompensated care spending in hospitals? Findings from Texas and California. International Journal 0f Health Planning & Management, 27(2), 88-103 Currie, G., & Lockett

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

1158 words - 5 pages uncompensated care costs and in spending for some state programs” (p. 4). This affects the healthcare industry because hospitals that provide services to a large share of low-income or uninsured patients will receive a lower number of these cases due to the expansion. Uncompensated care would decrease and hospitals would no longer require DSH payments to stay afloat. Proof that this provision benefits economic health is seen when comparing the

illegal immigration

804 words - 4 pages . Theses babies born are referred to as “anchor babies” because they can later help their family members gain citizenship. Around 340,000 babies born a year are from parents who came here illegally. This makes it hard on hospitals that will not be paid for their help due to the fact the person is illegally here and has no money. In some hospitals as much as two-thirds of total operating costs for uncompensated care for illegal immigrants. In 2005

Saving a Hospital.

1004 words - 4 pages medical field, one can never have too much and that reigns true for all aspects, even in the business office, where there is no patient care. Because the laws change, and insurance companies vary state-to-state, staying abreast of the new and updated HIPPA rules and regulations is beneficial to any healthcare facility. Hospitals are obligated by law to treat and stabilize any patient that presents themselves to emergency room with an emergent matter

All Americans Have a Right to Health Care

1534 words - 6 pages makes them sicker and die earlier than the insured people would.             At one point, the uninsured use to be able to get treated at most public clinics and hospitals, but the surplus revenues are no longer there for doctors and hospitals to provide uncompensated care. Prior to this, care was achieved largely through cost-sharing that was cycled into care for someone who couldn’t afford treatments. It was arranged at the level of

History Leading Up to Medicaid

1865 words - 7 pages actors in Medicaid are the doctors, the hospitals, and any healthcare provider, “Physicians may also see negative consequences. Hospitals in states that do not expand Medicaid will continue to absorb uncompensated care costs, a problem that will be compounded by the ACA-mandated decrease in reimbursements to hospitals that provide care to uninsured persons…but other problems with Medicaid, such as administrative hassles and the limited number of

Specialty Hospitals and Community Hospitals

2171 words - 9 pages conditions by restructuring the DRGs. They also put measures in place to make sure Medicare was not providing extra payments for hospital-acquired conditions that patients developed during their hospitalizations. They state the old 538 DRGs were revised and replaced with 745 new DRGs that are more predictable, reliable, and fair. In addition, they emphasize hospitals that take care of more critically ill patients will receive more reimbursement

Massachusetts Health Reform

1774 words - 8 pages for many of the states since emergency rooms were legally obligated to treat people even if they couldn’t afford to be treated. The United States Congress passed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) in 1986. EMTALA requires hospitals and ambulance services to provide care to anyone needing emergency treatment regardless of citizenship, legal status or ability to pay. The rising costs of unpaid emergency room expenditures

Community Benefit Analysis

1720 words - 7 pages hospital agreed to provide reduced-rate care as a condition of CON approval. Regardless of requirement of adoption or implementation of financial assistance policies, all hospitals in Virginia must provide information about their free and discounted care policies. This information must be posted in public areas of the hospital in addition to this information, eligibility and application information must be given to patients at admission, discharge

Similar Essays

Falls In Acute Care Hospitals Essay

2675 words - 11 pages ., Saliba, D., et al.(2013). Preventing falls in hospitals: a toolkit for improving quality of care. (Prepared by RAND Corporation, Boston University School of Public Health, and ECRI Institute under Contract No. HHSA290201000017I TO #1.) Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. AHRQ Publication No. 13-0015-EF. Karen. B. p., & Andrew F. C.( 2011). Evidence-based Falls Prevention in Critical Access Hospitals. Retrieved from

Quality Care Of Patients In Hospitals And The Current Nursing Shortages

1215 words - 5 pages Ways to assess the care of loved onesAccording to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), the growing shortage of nurses in America's hospitals is putting patient lives in danger and requires immediate attention. "The current nursing shortage threatens to heavily impact our citizens' health and our nations' security preparedness". (Person, 2003) The nursing shortage that is sweeping across the United States has

Public Health Care Reform In America

1346 words - 5 pages We all know that this country has a system of doctors and hospitals to take care of us when we get sick. What many people don't know is that there also is a system that keeps us healthy. It works in the ways that we aren't usually aware of. It's the public health system. Everyday you see headlines about public health in the newspaper. But you probably don't even recognize that the headlines reflect a public health system at work. Public

Comparison In Public Health Care Between Jordan And Uae

827 words - 4 pages only had 7 hospitals and 700 beds. However, by the end of 2009, the number of hospitals had risen to approximately 100 and the number beds to nearly 2000 (EMRO, 2006). The MOH runs almost 40 hospitals, and nearly 10 are run by the Department of Health and Medical Services (DOMS). Public & Private Healthcare System in UAE The MOH has adopted a highly decentralized strategy for the provision of health care services in the UAE. The various