By Consumers for Quality Care, on April 24, 2023
For Immediate Release
April 24, 2023
CQC Calls on 118th Congress to Hold Nonprofit Hospitals Accountable to Patients and Taxpayers
As the American Hospital Association Annual Membership Meeting Convenes in Washington, Consumers for Quality Care urges the country’s lawmakers to ensure nonprofit hospital systems put patients ahead of profits
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the American Hospital Association convenes for its annual membership meeting in Washington, D.C., Consumers for Quality Care (CQC) issued a letter to the 118th United States Congress calling for elected officials to hold nonprofit hospital systems accountable to patients and taxpayers.
CQC, a coalition of advocates, former policymakers, and health advocacy organizations, has launched the #HospitalFail Nonprofit Hospital Scorecard campaign, calling out disturbing and predatory trends among nonprofit hospitals that too often are not upholding their responsibility to serve vulnerable patients in their communities in exchange for massive tax breaks.
“Hospitals across the country systematically saddle low-income patients who should qualify for free or reduced care with bills they should never have received,” wrote CQC Board members in the letter. “They also deploy predatory collection practices to hound vulnerable patients who are unable to pay and rake in excess revenue by overcharging consumers. These practices are at odds with what is expected of charitable organizations.”
In the letter, CQC called out nonprofit hospitals for spending less on providing care to patients in need than what they receive in tax breaks as a result of their nonprofit status. CQC also called on Congress to address predatory tactics being used by nonprofit hospitals and to hold nonprofit hospitals accountable to the patients they serve.
Below is the full text of the open letter.
The 118th United States Congress
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
April 24, 2023
Dear Honorable Members of the 118th Congress,
As the American Hospital Association gathers in Washington for their annual membership meeting this week, we urge you to press them on practices employed by nonprofit hospitals across the country that prioritize financial gain over ensuring critical care to those who need it most.
Consumers for Quality Care (CQC) is a coalition of advocates, former policymakers, and 32 patient and consumer advocacy organizations committed to providing a voice for patients in the health care debate. We’ve synthesized investigations by The New York Times and Axios, the documentary film InHospitable, and reports from organizations including Patient Rights Advocate, the Lown Institute, Leapfrog, and others into our #HospitalFail Nonprofit Hospital Scorecard campaign.
What we’ve found through this research is disturbing. Hospitals across the country systematically saddle low-income patients who should qualify for free or reduced care with bills they should never have received. They also deploy predatory collection practices to hound vulnerable patients who are unable to pay and rake in excess revenue by overcharging consumers. These practices are at odds with what is expected of charitable organizations.
For example, our scorecards highlight how nonprofit hospitals across the country have a combined “fair share deficit” of $14.2 billion dollars. In other words, what nonprofit hospitals in the United States spent providing care to patients in need was $14.2 billion less than they what they received in tax breaks due to their nonprofit status.
As you meet with representatives from AHA, we urge you to keep these injustices in mind and to hold nonprofit hospitals accountable to the patients they serve. Consumers deserve access to transparent health care prices, choice in where to receive care, charity care when they are eligible, and protections from predatory debt collection practices.