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Research Letter
February 17, 2020

Charity Care Provision by US Nonprofit Hospitals

Author Affiliations
  • 1Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA Intern Med. 2020;180(4):606-607. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.7415

Hospitals are eligible for nonprofit status, which exempts them from income, property, and sales taxes, in exchange for providing charity care and other community services.1-5 Importantly, charity care differs fundamentally from uncompensated care or bad debt because there is no expectation that patients will pay for the services.3,4,6 Based on each hospital’s financial assistance policy, charity care is offered to eligible uninsured patients as full or partial discount of medical bills and to eligible insured patients as deductible and coinsurance written off.6 The existing literature, however, has not made the important distinction between charity care for uninsured patients and insured patients or examined charity care provision across hospitals’ financial status. This study aims to fill these knowledge gaps.

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