OHA releases hospital community benefit report

Oregon hospitals reported a notable increase in the amount of community benefit they provided in 2016. Their community benefit costs increased nearly 14 percent from fiscal year 2015 to 2016, mostly due to unreimbursed Medicare and Medicaid costs.

Unreimbursed Medicare costs grew to $866 million in 2016, up from $709 million in 2015. Unreimbursed Medicaid costs grew to $738 million from $655 million the previous year. Hospitals incur these costs when Medicaid or Medicare denies payment or reimburses the hospital less than the cost of providing the care.

Charity care, or care that is provided free or at a reduced cost to eligible patients, has fallen sharply since the Affordable Care Act made health coverage available to more Oregonians. Today, only 6 percent of Oregonians lack health insurance. In 2016 hospitals provided about $150 million in charity care, down 5 percent from 2015.

This report is compiled from information provided by Oregon’s 60 acute care hospitals that are subject to reporting requirements for community benefit. However, McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center in Springfield and Willamette Valley Medical Center in McMinnville are for-profit hospitals and therefore have no obligation to provide community benefit because they are subject to property and income taxes.

The report is available on the Oregon Health Authority website here. More information is available on the OHA Hospital Reporting Program webpage here.