Charity care and community benefits by hospital type in Texas

Jessica L Schleifer, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Hospital care is the largest component of the health care sector. This industry is made up of for profit hospital (FPH) organizations, not for profit (NFP) hospitals, and government (GOV) run hospital facilities. Objectives of this analysis were: (a) to conduct a literature review on NFP hospital legislation at the state level in Texas and at the federal level in the broader U.S.; and (b) to describe the types of charity care and community benefits currently being provided: by NFP hospitals compared to FPH hospitals and GOV hospitals; by hospitals geographic proximity to the Texas-Mexico border; and by hospital community type (rural, suburban, and urban); and (c) propose specific policy changes that may be needed to improve the current Texas State statute. Methods. In describing the historical and current policy context of NFP hospital legislation in the United States, federal legislation was reviewed from 1913 to the present and Texas State legislation was reviewed from 1980 to the present. In describing the provision of charity care, data from the 2008 Annual Cooperative Hospital Survey were examined by hospital organizational type, size, proximity to the border, and community type using linear regression and chi-squared tests to assess differences in charity care and community benefits. Results. The data included 123 NFP hospitals, 114 GOV hospitals, and 123 FPH. Results. Small sized (p<0.001) and medium sized (p<0.001) NFP hospitals provide a greater percent of total charity care when compared to FPH hospitals and to both GOV and FPH hospitals respectively; however, no significant difference in total charity care was found among large sized NFP hospitals when compared to FPH hospitals alone (p=.345) and both GOV and FPH facilities (p=.214). The amount of charity care provided was not found to be different based on proximity to the border or community type. Community benefit planning and budgeting was found to be similar regardless of community type and proximity to the border. Conclusion. No differences in charity care in Texas were found for large sized NFP hospitals compared to FPH and GOV hospitals. Contrary to widely held beliefs, this study did not find the border region to provide a greater amount of charity care or bad debt. Charity care also did not vary by community type. These findings underscore the need for continued collection of transparent data from all hospitals in order to provide policy makers and consumers with information on utilization trends to ensure benefits are being provided to the community. Policy changes or revoking tax-benefits may occur as charity care utilization declines with the implementation of health reform in the next few years.

Subject Area

Public health|Health care management

Recommended Citation

Schleifer, Jessica L, "Charity care and community benefits by hospital type in Texas" (2010). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1480452.