- Community Investment
- Economic Impact
Uncompensated Care And Total Community Benefit Continue
To Increase In Missouri Hospitals
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Hospital Association’s Community Investment Report finds that in 2020, the state’s hospitals provided more than $3.5 billion in total community benefit — an increase of nearly $100 million from 2019, and a 16% increase throughout the last decade. Providing a safety net for care is an essential part of hospitals value to the communities they serve, In 2020, hospitals provided $1.8 billion in total uncompensated care — an increase of more than $93 million over 2019. Hospital-specific data are available on the association’s consumer data site, FocusOnHospitals.com.
“Missouri hospitals are always essential,” said Jon D. Doolittle, MHA President and CEO. “Their commitment to patients and communities is steadfast. Even in the most uncertain and challenging times as the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, hospitals continued to provide lifesaving care regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.”
In 2020, the cost of providing care to low-income Missourians, and the uninsured and underinsured — individuals who are eligible under hospitals’ charity care policies — increased by more than $65 million to $1.09 billion statewide. At the same time, the bad debt total increased by more than $28 million to $721 million. Bad debt often results from an uninsured or underinsured individual’s inability to afford out-of-pocket costs for care. The data reflect hospitals’ cost for providing care, not charges.
With the COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacting hospitals, provider relief funds from the federal government helped offset what might have been devastating financial losses at many hospitals. Despite financial uncertainty, hospitals continued to provide a safety net for care. And, for every $1 in net income —operating revenue, minus expenses — hospitals provided $2.13 in uncompensated care in 2020, an increase from $1.54 in 2019.
Hospitals also benefit their communities by absorbing unpaid costs of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, educating and training the workforce, and donating to local causes. When combined with uncompensated care, these investments are known as community benefit.
“Missouri hospitals continually assist in the training of physicians and other health care professionals,” said Doolittle. “In 2020, those contributions totaled $468 million.”
In 2020, Missouri hospitals employed more than 170,000 workers, investing $12 billion in payroll and benefits statewide. They also invested $1.6 billion in various capital improvement projects in their communities — an increase of more than $400 million throughout a decade. These community investments help strengthen the health care system. They also ripple throughout the economy, creating household income, opportunities to support and build businesses, and increasing revenue for state and local governments.
“This report demonstrates that hospitals support patients and Missouri’s communities — by providing a safety net for care and as an economic engine for jobs and investment, locally and statewide,” said Doolittle. “Hospitals are necessary institutions that strengthen individual and economic health.”
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The Missouri Hospital Association is a not-for-profit association in Jefferson City that represents 142 Missouri hospitals. In addition to representation and advocacy on behalf of its membership, the association offers continuing education programs on current health care topics and seeks to educate the public about health care issues.