September 29, 2022

Comparison of US hospital charity care before, after COVID-19

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

This study from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, and Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, finds that between December 2019 and December 2021, nearly one-third of large, tax exempt hospitals improved their charity care policies.

Across the 2-year period, 127 of 151 (84.15) hospitals updated their policies, and 77 (51.0%) made substantial changes.

Of 242 distinct policy changes, 135 were more generous, 46 were more restrictive, and 61 were indeterminate.

Specific policy changes mostly involved:

  • income cutoffs for free and discounted care
  • residency status
  • presumptive eligibility
  • duration of coverage
  • underinsured eligibility.

The findings suggest that greater transparency and simplification in charity care policies are needed to ensure adequate access to charity care, the authors say.

JAMA (healthcare publication) Network logo


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