Pandemic spurred many hospitals to expand charity care: Study

A review of 150 large hospitals found around 31 percent increased charity care, while around 8 percent restricted charity care during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Researchers at the Columbia-based University of South Carolina and Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University compared charity care policies published online at 150 large acute-care hospitals in 2019 and 2021 in a new study published Sept. 27 in JAMA Network Open.  

The researchers found that 50 percent of these hospitals made substantial changes to their charity care policy during this time, with the majority of these changes to expand charity care. Determining the nature of the changes was often difficult because of vague language in online policies, the study authors said.  

The most frequent switch hospitals made was changing income cutoffs for free and discounted care. Many hospitals also changed presumptive eligibility requirements. 

The most common change restricting charity care was adding residency requirements, often restricting care eligibility based on immigration status. 


Read the full study here.

 

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