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Profitable Hospitals, Non-Profits Hard to Tell Apart, Study Finds

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By    |   Wednesday, 04 May 2016 11:53 AM

Seven of the top 10 most profitable hospitals in the U.S. in 2013 were designated as nonprofits, all clearing more than $160 million that year, according to a study released Monday by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Washington and Lee University.

The study's findings, published in the May issue of Health Affairs, reported that most hospitals in the United States actually lose money but the top 10 moneymakers and raised questions about what factors led them making so much, according to a Bloomberg School statement.

"A small subset of nonprofit hospitals are earning substantial profits," Gerard F. Anderson, the study's leader, said in the Bloomberg School statement. "Either they're doing something right or they are taking advantage of a flawed payment system. Perhaps the most important question is what are they doing with all of that money?"

The nonprofit Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse, Wisconsin made the list as the most profitable in the country, making $302.5 million, according to the Bloomberg School.

The other nonprofit hospitals listed in the top 10 most profitable included the Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, California, with a profit of $271.9 million; Stanford Hospital and Clinics, in Palo Alto, California ($224.7 million); Norton Hospital, Louisville, Kentucky ($211.2 million); Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia ($184.5 million); Sacred Heart Medical Center, in Riverbend and Springfield, Oregon ($171.2 million); and the Carle Foundation Hospital, in Urbana, Illinois ($163.5 million).

The only for profit hospitals making the most profitable list were the Medical City Dallas Hospital ($210.3 million); the Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Colorado ($192.5 million); and Methodist Hospital in San Antonio ($172.4 million), noted the Bloomberg School.

"All hospitals should make a little profit, but some hospitals are obtaining outrageous profits, study coauthor Ge Bai, an assistant accounting professor at Washington and Lee, said to the Washington Post.

Gundersen Lutheran said in a statement, according to the Post, that the report did not reflect the hospital's costs as an integrated health system in a mostly rural, multi-state region with a large Medicare population.

The hospital also claimed that the Bloomberg School study did not take into account some of its administrative and other costs that would have changed its ranking, wrote the Washington Post.

"A positive bottom line does not mean a hospital does not deserve tax-exempt status," Danny Chun of the Illinois Hospital Association, told the Chicago Tribune. He added that nonprofits reinvest net income into "the latest technology, newer equipment, modern facilities, highly-trained staff and other programs that ensure access to quality health care services and benefit the health of their community."

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Seven of the top 10 most profitable hospitals in the U.S. in 2013 were designated as nonprofits, all clearing more than $160 million that year, according to a study released Monday by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Washington and Lee University.
profitable, hospitals, non-profits
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2016-53-04
Wednesday, 04 May 2016 11:53 AM
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