Hospitals continue to report uncompensated care.

Another Story Behind Medical Debt: Hospitals’ Uncompensated Care

Where do hospitals spend their money? In Colorado, one state representative is trying to find out.

The Denver Post reports that “Colorado sends about $2.9 billion annually in state and federal dollars to hospitals across the state, but the agency that regulates the hospitals doesn’t really know how it’s being spent.”

“Lawmakers from both parties have wanted to change that for years, but they could never agree on the details. Now, Democrats see their control of the statehouse as an opportunity to unravel some of health care’s mysteries as well as some of its costs.”

The piece continues: “Overall reimbursement from the state when compared to the cost per patient has increased 153 percent since 2009, according to a December 2018 report from the Colorado Healthcare Affordability and Sustainability Enterprise (formerly known as the hospital provider fee). During that same time the amount people with private insurance paid above the cost of their services increased by 63 percent.”

Hospitals Report Uncompensated Care

Meanwhile, hospitals continue to report uncompensated care.

Healthcare Dive writes: “U.S. hospitals provided $38.4 billion worth of uncompensated care in 2017, the American Hospital Association found in a survey out this week. Uncompensated care remained flat compared with the prior year, despite signs of an uptick in the rate of uninsured after years of decline.”

It continues: “AHA figures show uncompensated care, or care for which hospitals did not receive payment, reached a high in 2013 of $46.8 billion when nearly 20% of adults were uninsured, according to figures from the Commonwealth Fund.”

Outpatient vs. Inpatient Revenue

Meanwhile, Modern Healthcare reports that “the gap between U.S. hospitals’ outpatient and inpatient revenue continued to shrink in 2017 as more patients elect to get care in cheaper outpatient settings, and some believe a flip is inevitable in the coming years.”

“The American Hospital Association’s 2019 Hospital Statistics report showed hospitals’ net outpatient revenue was $472 billion and inpatient revenue totaled nearly $498 billion in 2017, the latest year for which the report covers, creating a ratio of 95%, up from 83% in 2013.”

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