Many nonprofit hospitals are not living up to their obligations for tax-exempt status by investing in the communities they serve, according to a new survey of nearly 2,400 hospitals by the Lown Institute, writes Healthcare Dive.
According to Lown’s 2021 Hospitals Index, released on July 11, 2021, the institutions fell short in community investments by nearly $17 billion in the past year. There were exceptions, such as Boston Medical Center, which spent $11 million more than what Lown believed was an appropriate expenditure. Others include Paradise Valley Hospital in California, the overall top performer in community investment, as well as several New York City-area institutions, including Elmhurst Hospital Center, Queens Hospital Center and Metropolitan Hospital Center.
However, some 72% of the hospitals surveyed had what Lown called a “fair share deficit” — shortfalls in providing community benefits such as local investments and charity care — ranging from a few thousand dollars to as much as $261 million. Many facilities with the largest shortfalls are some of the most prominent hospitals in the U.S.