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Vidant Health responds to state treasurer’s report critical of many nonprofit hospitals

(WITN)
Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 3:50 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 27, 2021 at 4:01 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP & WITN) - State Treasurer Dale Folwell says many North Carolina nonprofit hospitals are falling short in treating the poor for free or reduced rates to validate their tax-exempt status.

Folwell made the comments Wednesday while discussing a report that Johns Hopkins University developed with help from the State Health Plan.

The report found that in a recent year a majority of the state’s largest nonprofit hospital systems failed to generate charity care spending that exceeded 60% of the value of each system’s tax breaks.

Vidant Health is detailed in the report as well which showed that the system’s tax exemption was $148 million from 2019 to 2020. The report said during that time the hospital system spent $74.2 million on charitable care which is around 50% of the tax-exempt figure.

Vidant Health provided a statement on the report to WITN:

“Vidant Health serves a vast, underserved region of more than 1.4 million people, many of whom face high rates of chronic diseases, lack access to care and are uninsured. As a mission-driven not-for-profit health system, Vidant treats all patients regardless of ability to pay and prides itself on providing charity care to community members in-need. With a reliance on a high government payor mix (Medicare, Medicaid), Vidant operates with a thin margin and any profits realized are reallocated to create access to quality care, hire high-quality doctors and nurses, and create health infrastructure needed to support the communities we are proud to serve.”

UNC Health is also detailed in the report with a tax exemption of $283 million but a figure for charity care spending was not available.

“Two of the largest hospital systems — Atrium Health and UNC Health — are not required to publish their tax filing 990 forms because they are considered public — not nonprofit — hospitals under North Carolina law. This makes it difficult to measure their charity care spending against their tax exemptions. Even hospital leaders have criticized this lack of public accountability,” the report said.

An association representing North Carolina hospitals says the report leaves out many other benefits they provide to their communities.

You can read the full report here.

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