Report: Non-Profit Hospitals’ Profits Soared With COVID Funding

The largest non-profit hospitals in the U.S. raked in billions in federal COVID-19 relief funds, sending their profits through the roof according to a new report.

In fact, the findings by government watchdog group Open the Books show that of the 20 largest non-profits, only two repaid part of their bailout giveaways. That’s out of a total of $23 billion doled out by Washington.

The heftiest taxpayer-supplied sum was taken in by San Francisco’s CommonSpirit Health, which harvested a cool $3.6 billion.

Not far behind was Providence St. Joseph Center with $3 billion, Ascension Healthcare took in $2.7 billion, and Livonia Health in Michigan hauled in $2.3 billion in emergency relief funding.

The Open Books report criticized the take by the medical institutions. “The 20 largest non-profit hospitals in the country continued making massive profits while their cumulative net assets soared to $324 billion in 2021 from $200.6 billion in 2018.”

The Wall Street Journal also reported in December that many of the major recipients of billions in federal funds did not even need the assistance.

In fact, the funds lined the coffers of some of the nation’s wealthiest institutions while many that were struggling through the pandemic remained in financial peril. The government, the outlet reported, had a flawed methodology for calculating who needed help.

Instead of considering the COVID-19 caseload borne by a hospital or the financial pressures they were under, Washington simply looked at the revenue stream of the facility.

While that is a fine determinant of the size of an operation, it hardly speaks to the financial health or burdens of infected patients a hospital must deal with.

The Journal reported that some nonprofit hospitals not only posted substantial profits, but many moved the funds into investment accounts. Others took advantage of the taxpayer-funded handouts to expand their infrastructure.

On the other end of the spectrum, others did not receive anything near sufficient aid. Many fought to keep the doors open by laying off staff and cutting services — many times to those who needed them the most.

The report further noted that basing assistance solely on revenue, which was predominant at the start of the pandemic, rewarded hospitals charging higher prices. The system, according to the Journal, was eventually tweaked to aid those with the highest needs.