Profit margins at St. Louis-area hospitals rise as charity care levels fall

St. Louis-area hospitals spent 2.1 percent of their operating revenue on charity care in 2014, down from 2.93 percent the year prior, according to a report from the St. Louis Area Business Health Coalition.

Karen Roth, author of the report, told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the Business Health Coalition encourages nonprofit hospitals to spend a minimum of 3 percent of their operating revenue on charity care. However, there are no federal or state requirements regarding how much charity care Missouri hospitals must provide, according to the report.

While charity care levels decreased, hospitals in the St. Louis area saw their profit margins rise to an aggregate of 4.52 percent in 2014, up from 3.85 percent the year prior. Nationally, hospitals posted an 8.3 percent profit margin in 2014, according to the report, which cited data from the American Hospital Association.

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