Bad Debt for Ohio Hospitals Increases By $190 Million

Ohio hospitals increased community benefit activities by more than $800 million in 2014, the first year after the state expanded Medicaid eligibility standards, while providing charity care at 80% of the level as they did before expansion, according to the Ohio Hospital Association’s Healing Ohio Communities report.

According to a press release from the Ohio Hospital Association, the first statewide summary of hospital community benefit reports features hospitals’ fiscal 2014 figures.

Overall, Ohio hospitals provided $2.16 billion in community benefit activities, up from $1.54 billion in 2013. The activities include health screenings, free/discounted prescriptions and supplies, immunization clinics, meals and nutrition services, health education, clinical and community research and health studies to improve the health of Ohioans, family support services and health professions education.

Despite more than 650,000 Ohioans securing health coverage through Medicaid in 2014, Ohio hospitals provided $809 million in charity care, down from $1.03 billion in 2013. (Click here for stories of hospital programs throughout Ohio).

Hospitals’ bad debt also increased $190 million over 2013 figures to $1.23 billion, largely due to the growing number of consumers with high deductible health plans.

“The role of today’s hospital has drastically expanded outside its four walls,” said Mike Abrams, OHA president and CEO. “In addition to providing quality patient care, Ohio hospitals are healing communities in many aspects from working to solve major social issues to serving as strong economic leaders that provide 250,000 jobs and contribute billions to the vitality of the state.”

Beyond the health care provided, OHA’s report shows Ohio hospitals were the catalyst for $27.88 billion in economic activity for Ohio in 2014, employing a quarter million Ohioans and paying $16.6 billion in direct wages.

Total net community benefit reported by Ohio’s hospitals grew from $3.27 billion to $3.61 billion in 2014. This includes an accounting for Medicaid loss, which remained relatively stable in 2014 at $1.3 billion. Medicaid loss is the hospital’s cost of providing services to patients covered by Medicaid, less the reimbursement paid to the hospital by Ohio Medicaid. Hospitals subtract any supplemental payments they receive for treating a disproportionate share of Medicaid and Medicare patients (DSH payments) to calculate net community benefit.

Factoring in Medicare losses and bad debt, Ohio hospitals provided $5.5 billion in total uncompensated care in 2014, up from $4.9 billion in 2013, or pre-expansion of Medicaid eligibility criteria.

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