Cleveland Clinic sees steep drop in uncompensated care

One of the Midwest's leading providers of acute healthcare services has reported a significant drop in charity care provided to its patients.

The Cleveland Clinic reports its charity care expenditures are down significantly, from $101 million last year and $171 million in 2013. That's a drop of more than 40 percent. The organization's total charity care and bad debt costs dropped 27 percent in 2014, according to Kaiser Health News.

Ohio expanded Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act, although its GOP governor, John Kasich, was torn over making the move. However, the decision brought insurance coverage to more than 400,000 low-income Ohioans, and has apparently financially benefited the state's hospitals, KHN reports.

"Now that you're starting to see that shift from uninsured or underserved on over into healthcare programs such as Medicaid and the exchange, that has had a good impact," John Palmer, spokesperson for the Ohio Hospital Association, told the publication. "And, obviously, it is reflective of what hospitals are experiencing with uncompensated care in the areas of charity care especially."

Citing data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, KHN has reported that hospitals in Medicaid expansion states have reaped savings on uncompensated care by $2.6 billion. Altogether, the federal government has estimated uncompensated care dropped 21 percent compared to not expanding Medicaid eligibility. By contrast, the more than 20 states that have not expanded Medicaid have had far lower drops in uncompensated care figures.

To learn more:
- read the article 
- check out the Cleveland Clinic financial statement (.pdf)

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