Uncompensated care drops nearly 9% in Pa. hospitals

The amount of uncompensated care that hospitals in Pennsylvania provided patients in fiscal year 2015 dropped by 8.6 percent, according to a report from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council.

The value of uncompensated care — defined as uncollectible debt and charity care — provided by hospitals in the commonwealth decreased by $92 million to a total of $975 million in fiscal 2015. In prior years, there was a steady increase in the dollar value of uncompensated care, which rose from $461 million in fiscal year 2001 to $1.07 billion in fiscal year 2014, according to the report.

The statewide total margin realized by the general acute care hospitals in the state decreased slightly from 5.66 percent to 5.65 percent, and the statewide operating margin increased from 4.25 percent to 5.46 percent during the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2015, according to the report. The statewide operating income increased 34.7 percent from $1.7 billion in fiscal year 2014 to $2.3 billion in fiscal year 2015.

"While the data shows many of the 170 Pennsylvania hospitals experienced positive operating and total margins in fiscal year 2015, and uncompensated care dropped 8.6 percent, there were 49 [hospitals], or 29 percent [of] hospitals that lost money on operations and 46, or 27 percent [of hospitals], lost money overall," said Joe Martin, executive director of PHC4.

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