40 Oklahoma Hospitals Spend Less Than 1 Percent On Charity
By ZIVA BRANSTETTER World Enterprise Editor& CLIFF ADCOCK Oklahoma Watch
Posted: Sunday, November 3, 2013 1:59 am
At least 40 nonprofit or government-owned hospitals in Oklahoma spent less than 1 percent of their net patient revenues caring for those who couldn’t afford to pay their medical bills, records show.
The data obtained by Oklahoma Watch and analyzed and reported with the Tulsa World covers 2011 and 2012. Some hospitals reported spending below 1 percent during both years, while only one year of data was available for others.
Most of the hospitals with charity care below 1 percent had negative operating margins but a few did not.
Wagoner Community Hospital spent less than half of 1 percent of patient revenues on charity care in 2011 and 2012. Meanwhile, the hospital reported a 22 percent operating margin in 2012.
Rod Shook, CFO of Wagoner Community Hospital, said the hospital has difficulty getting patients to take advantage of charity care available to them.
“We offer the applications and the patients take them. However it’s very difficult to get it back from them. We would prefer that they be charity care rather than bad debt.”
Oklahoma City’s Integris Baptist Medical Center and Integris Blackwell Regional Hospital also made the list of hospitals that spent less than 1 percent of patient revenue on charity care in 2011 or 2012.
Nonprofit hospitals receive a tax exemption from the federal government in exchange for providing benefits to the communities they serve. Several years ago, the Internal Revenue Service expressed concern about the wide variety of ways nonprofit hospitals were counting the community benefits they provided.
An IRS study of nearly 500 hospitals found that a small group of them accounted for about 80 percent of the funds spent to benefit the community.