The Relationship of Financial and Mission Factors to the Level of Uncompensated Care Provided in California Hospitals

Tae Hyun Kim; McCue, Michael I.; Thompson, Jon M.
November 2009
Journal of Healthcare Management;Nov/Dec2009, Vol. 54 Issue 6, p383
Academic Journal
Community hospitals in the United States have experienced a substantial rise in the burden of uncompensated care over the past few years. Debate continues, however, about whether hospitals, especially private not-for-profits, are providing sufficient levels of uncompensated care. Increased scrutiny regarding uncompensated care and the community benefit of not-for-profit hospitals may be fueled in part by the growing profitability of community hospitals. This study assesses how and whether a hospital's financial performance, mission characteristics, or other significant factors influence its provision of uncompensated care. The study sample consists of 193 short-term, private, acute care community hospitals in California. Results from multivariate regression suggest that free cash flow is positively associated with the provision of uncompensated care in not-for-profit hospitals, whereas a higher level of debt is related to a lower level of uncompensated care. Ownership type (for-profit versus private not-for-profit) does not make a significant difference in the provision of uncompensated care, and overall levels of uncompensated care in the local market are positively associated with a hospital's level of uncompensated care.


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