9 January 2018 | In an analysis conducted by the publication Modern Healthcare, Adventist Health System ranks second on a list of the highest charity care providers in the United States.
In 2016, Altamonte Springs, Florida-based Adventist Health System spent $316 million in charity care, second only to Ascension Health, headquartered in St. Louis, which spent $496 million.
The third highest charity care provider was Dallas-based Baylor Scott & White Health with $242 million, followed by Englewood Colorado’s Catholic Health Initiative with $220 million and Trinity Health from Livonia, Michigan with $187 million.
When charity care was measured as a percentage of operating revenue, Adventist Health System also ranked second in the country, using 3.27% of its $9.7 billion operating revenue on charity care as opposed to New York City Health & Hospitals Corp. which used 6.32%.
Mike Griffin, AHS vice president of advocacy and public policy said that the reason for the system’s high level of charity care was that Florida, where 26 of the system’s hospitals are located, has one of the nation’s highest uninsured rates.
Modern Healthcare notes that some experts question charity care figures released by providers.
“I’m sure there is a lot of playing around with the numbers,” said Cynthia Woodcock, the executive director of the Hilltop Institute, the University of Maryland-based health research organization.
“It’s almost like artificial spending,” said Woodcock. “They’re not really putting real dollars out in the community for community health improvement or population health, as some of us would like to see, but instead they’re just on paper showing, ‘Oh, we have more Medicaid shortfall.'”