Nonprofit Hospitals Profit $23B From Federal COVID Aid

According to a recent report, the 20 largest non-profit hospitals in the United States accumulated a staggering $23 billion in taxpayer-funded COVID aid throughout the pandemic. This revelation has raised concerns as these hospitals continued to witness substantial profit growth during the same period.

Out of the 20 hospital systems that benefited from federal COVID-19 relief funds, only two providers have partially repaid their bailout money.

The report, released by Open the Books — an organization dedicated to scrutinizing government spending — revealed that CommonSpirit Health, based in San Francisco, received the highest amount of taxpayer-funded aid, totaling $3.6 billion.

Providence St. Joseph Center was granted $3 billion, Ascension Healthcare obtained $2.7 billion, and Livonia Health, based in Michigan, secured $2.3 billion in COVID financial assistance. Open the Books noted the combined net assets of the top 20 non-profit hospital systems surged from $200.6 billion in 2018 to an astounding $324.3 billion in 2021.

This represents a remarkable 62% increase over the three-year period, including the pandemic. The Mayo Clinic witnessed a staggering 92% rise in net assets, while Intermountain Healthcare and the Cleveland Clinic Health System experienced increases of 63% and 60%, respectively. Indiana University Health System also saw its net assets grow by 47%.

The report further highlighted the generous compensation packages received by hospital executives during the pandemic, with many earning more than $10 million per year. For instance, the CEO of Ascension Healthcare, based in St. Louis, Missouri, received $13 million in 2021 and a total of $22 million between 2018 and 2021.


Additionally, the report referenced an analysis conducted by Patient Rights Advocate—a non-profit organization advocating for healthcare price transparency—regarding hospitals’ adherence to a healthcare transparency rule initiated by the Trump administration in 2020 and finalized by the Biden administration in 2021.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services emphasize that hospital price transparency is crucial for Americans to understand the costs associated with hospital services. Starting from January 1, 2021, all hospitals operating in the United States are mandated to provide accessible pricing information online for the services they offer.

The analysis by Patient Rights Advocate evaluated 2,000 hospitals across the country and discovered less than 25% were fully compliant with the healthcare price transparency rule as of February 2023.

As the debate surrounding the allocation of taxpayer-funded COVID aid continues, these findings underscore the need for greater transparency and accountability within the non-profit hospital sector.

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