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Maintaining Charity Care

Nonprofit hospitals have public service missions and get significant tax breaks, and thus are expected to provide benefits to their community, including offering care to uninsured and underserved patients. Nonprofit hospitals seeking to sell or change ownership must get approval from the Attorney General (AG), who evaluates whether the transaction will have a significant effect on the availability or accessibility of health care services to the affected community. The AG often requires hospitals to maintain their charity care programs as a condition of approving the transaction, along with other conditions to ensure essential health care services are available to the community. A number of hospitals have gone back and asked the AG to allow them to reduce their charity care obligations. Health Access opposes these requests because charity care continues to be a needed and valued part of the safety net.