Safety net hospital

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A safety net hospital is a type of medical center in the United States that by legal obligation or mission provides healthcare for individuals regardless of their insurance status (the United States does not have a policy of universal health care) or ability to pay.[1][2][3] This legal mandate forces safety net hospitals (SNHs) to serve all populations. Such hospitals typically serve a proportionately higher number of uninsured, Medicaid, Medicare, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHiP), low-income, and other vulnerable individuals than their "non-safety net hospital" counterpart.[1][2][3] Safety net hospitals are not defined by their ownership terms; they can be either publicly or privately owned.[3][2] The missions of safety net hospitals are rather, to focus and emphasize their devotion to providing the best possible care for those who are barred from health care due to the various possible adverse circumstances. These circumstances mostly revolve around problems with financial payments, insurance plans, or health conditions.[3][1] As per America's Health Care Safety Net: Intact but Endangered,[4] safety net hospitals are known for maintaining an open-door policy for their services.

Some safety net hospitals even offer high-cost services like burn care, trauma care, neonatal treatments, and inpatient behavioral health. Some also provide training for healthcare professionals. The Health and Hospital Corporation in NYC, Cook County Health and Hospital System in Chicago, and Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas are three of the United States' largest safety net hospitals.[5]

History[edit]

The presence of philanthropic medical institutions during the 19th century pre-date the modern American safety net hospital. These hospitals were funded by religious groups or wealthy benefactors, and their target population was the poor.[6] However, towards the turn of the century, these institutions began transitioning into for-profit organizations, as they began to accept patients from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Towards 1922, as these businesses grew, revenue from patient care accounted for 65.2% of the total revenue for these community hospitals. Along with the introduction of private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid during the 1980s,[7] by the time 1994 arrived, 94% of the revenue came from patient care.[6] However, in 1996, approximately 43 million people (one-fifth of the U.S. population under age 65) had no medical insurance and an additional 29 million were underinsured. These numbers were also expected to rise in the next decade.[7] This led to the advent of what we consider a safety net hospital. Hospitals were already practicing uncompensated health care during the 1980s, with the help of state funding and Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) programs, in order to provide medical treatment to the uninsured and the underinsured in urban cities. However, this practice became more commonplace when the state of health care began to look difficult.

Financing a safety net hospital[edit]

Safety net hospitals oftentimes find themselves in difficult financial positions due to the vulnerable financial state of the patients and lack of sufficient federal, state and local funding; safety net hospitals have high rates of Medicaid and Medicare payers[8][9][1] (Medicaid has unreliable/insufficient processes of government to hospital repayment[8]) and a large proportion of safety net hospital patients serve traditionally low income and marginalized/vulnerable populations.[8][10][1] There is a complex array of public funding that comes to safety net hospitals (as being legally defined as a safety net hospital entitles these entities to financial compensation to overcome the cost of medical expenses not paid for by patients) mostly through Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital Payments, Medicaid Upper Payment Limit Payments, Medicaid Indirect Medical Education Payments, and state/local indigent health programs.[8][11] However, these financial entities created to sustain safety net hospitals in repayments are often not enough. According to the National Rural Health Association, 83 rural hospitals have closed since 2010 due to the substantial financial pressure.[12] In 2013, hospitals across the United States generated $44.6 billion in uncompensated care costs; uncompensated care costs are costs accrued from services that the hospitals provided to patients that were not able to pay and that also went unpaid by government entities.[11] Additionally, there tends to be a lack of socioeconomic development and a lack of health care providers (both general and specialized) in the geographical regions where safety net hospitals tend to be located; this observation is made by Waitzkin and he refers to these facts as part of the social and structural "contradictions" that safety net hospitals face further negatively impact there financial stability and care performance.[3] Besides, many of the level I trauma centers are within safety net hospitals and their financial stability is highly affected by policy changes.[13] In a study, they found that county SNHs were the last in net revenue income compared to non-profit SNHs and non-SNHs ($41.6 million vs $111.4 million vs $287.1 millio respectively).[13] Although ACA has changed the financial situation of SNHs, county SNHs still faced a negative margins in 2015. However, for many hospital types, the net patient revenue increased.[13]

Prospects for safety net hospitals under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act[edit]

Under statute, Medicaid and Medicare issue disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments that offset hospitals’ expenditures for uncompensated care. These payments are intended to improve access for Medicaid recipients and uninsured patients, as well as to shore up the financial stability of safety-net hospitals. Prior to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as "Obamacare"), the Medicare portion of the program has already been limited, and under the ACA the Medicaid portion of the program is also scheduled to be restricted.[14] This was built into the law under the assumption that the amount of uncompensated care would decline substantially under the ACA due to expanded coverage.[14] However, coverage did not expand as much as anticipated in many states due to the unanticipated choice not to expand Medicaid access under the Act (a result of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius).[14] An additional issue with Obamacare and safety net hospitals arises from the coverage gap for those who have too high of an income to qualify for Medicaid but have too low of an income to afford a private plan; it is projected that even with the implementation of the health care law in 2016, roughly 30 million people are still expected to be without insurance coverage[15][16] and find service in safety net hospitals. Another issue revolves around the fact that hospitals are required to provide care for patients in the emergency department, even if the person cannot pay or is an illegal immigrant.[9]

Prospects for safety net hospitals under the Trump Administration[edit]

The American Health Care Act of 2017 (AHCA) repealed part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in such that it cut Medicaid coverage for lower-income Americans and would effectively stop ACA's Medicaid expansion, which estimates lost coverage for 24 million people by 2026.[17][18] In addition, it places a limit on federal dollars that the states receive to cover health insurance to millions of low-income patients.[19] These federal cuts and increased enrollment criteria for federal welfare programs will create an inevitable cost shift on patients and will make it more difficult for Americans to be able to participate and receive aid from federal programs, especially with less money allocated to these programs. Less money allocated to federal programs and the simultaneous repeals to Obamacare will lead to less patients receiving financial help and qualifying for insurance programs, which means they will have to pay more money out of pocket. It is estimated that there will be 15 million or more[20] fewer individuals insured with "Trumpcare" than with Obamacare.[19][21] This will directly impact safety net hospitals because the number of patients without insurance will increase at safety net hospitals but in turn, safety net hospitals will also be suffering a decrease in financial support from the federal government and will not be able to absorb as many costs for these patients.[21][22] The aforementioned proposed acts will place financial burdens and operational constraints on both patients and safety net hospitals. It is projected that under the AHCA, hospitals in both expanded Medicaid and nonexpanded states are predicted to have negative operating margins by 2026, which endangers the quality of patient care and the low-income communities, and ultimately, threatens closure of the hospital.[23]

Types of Safety Net Providers[edit]

Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs)[edit]

Federally Qualified Health Center are public and private non-profit health care organizations that meet federally mandated requirements to provide comprehensive and appropriate health care services to a medically underserved population. They must also adjust service fees based on patients ability to pay, have an ongoing qualify assurance program, and have a governing board of directors.[24] In turn, FQHCs receive reimbursements from Medicaid through their Prospective Payment System (PPS). They also can also apply for the Health Center Program grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources and Services Administration.[25]

Federally Qualified Health Centers Look-Alikes (FQHCs look-alikes)[edit]

FQHCs that meet all the federal health center program requirements but don't receive health center grant funding are called FQHC look-alikes. These FQHCs are typically non-profit community health centers and regional clinical associations.

Rural Health Centers (RHC)[edit]

Rural Health Centers are public, private, or non-profit health centers that provide primary care to Medicaid and Medicare populations in rural areas. RHC status is designated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, providing enhanced reimbursements rates for services. A health center cannot be both an RHC and a FQHC.

Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH)[edit]

Disproportionate share hospital are characterized by a significantly high number of low-income patients that is disproportionate. These hospitals do not receive payment for their services and are not reimbursement by Medicare, Medical, health insurance, or the Children's Health Insurance Program. State submit independent certified audits along with an annual report detailing how their payments to each DSH Hospital. After doing so they states receive Federal Financial Participation (FFP), an annual allotment.[26]

Community Health Centers[edit]

Community Health Centers are clinics with a mission to provide care to low-income populations regardless of their ability to pay. However, they do not have to meet any federal requirements because they do not receive federal funding or reimbursements from medicare or medical. They usually operate through donations.[24]

List of Safety Net Hospitals in the United States[27][edit]

Alabama[28][edit]

  • DCH Regional Health System
  • East Alabama Medical Center - Lanier
  • Princeton Baptist Medical Center
  • St. Vincent's East Hospital
  • UAB Hospital

Arizona[edit]

  • Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS)
  • Northern Arizona Healthcare
    • Flagstaff Medical Center
    • Verde Valley Medical Center
  • Yuma Regional Medical Center

Arkansas[edit]

  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)

California[edit]

The 21 hospitals part of California's health care safety net system is represented by the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems. These 21 hospitals are 6% of all the hospitals in California but provide care for 80% of the state's population. 40% of their total hospital services is for uninsured patients and 35% is for Medicaid Patients.[29]

  • Alameda Health System
    • Alameda Hospital
    • Fairmont Hospital
    • Highland Hospital
    • John George Psychiatric Hospital
    • San Leandro Hospital
  • Arrowhead Regional Medical Center
  • City and County of San Francisco Department of Public Health
    • Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center
    • Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center
  • Contra Costa Regional Medical Center
  • Kern Medical Center
  • Los Angeles County Department of Health Services
    • Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
    • High Desert Regional Health Center
    • LAC + USC Medical Center
    • Olive View-UCLA Medical Center
    • Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center
  • Natividad Medical Center
  • Riverside University Health System - Medical Center
  • San Joaquin GeneralHospital
  • San Mateo Medical Center
  • Santa Clara Valley Health & Hospital System
  • University of California
    • Shiley Eye Center
    • UC Davis Medical Center
    • UC Irvine Medical Center
    • UC San Diego Health System
    • UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital
    • UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion
  • Ventura County Health Care Agency
    • Santa Paula Hospital
    • Ventura County Medical Center

Colorado[edit]

  • Denver Health Medical Center

Connecticut[edit]

  • Stamford Health

Delaware[edit]

  • Christiana Care Health Systems

District of Columbia[edit]

  • Howard University Hospital
  • MedStar Washington Hospital Center

Florida[edit]

  • Baycare Health System
  • Broward Health
  • Halifax Health
  • Health Care District of Palm Beach County
  • Jackson Health System
  • Lawnwood Hospital of Fort Pierce
  • Lee Health
  • Memorial Healthcare System
  • Orlando Health
  • Tampa General Hospital
  • University of Florida Health
    • UF Health Jacksonville
    • UF Health Shands Children's Hospital
    • UF Health Shands Hospital
    • UF Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital
    • UF Health Shands Rehab Hospital

Georgia[edit]

  • Grady Health System
  • Navicent Health
  • Augusta University Medical Center

Idaho[edit]

  • St. Luke's Health System

Illinois[edit]

  • Cook County Health & Hospital System
  • Norwegian American Hospital
  • Sinai Health System
  • The University of Chicago Medicine
    • Bernad Mitchell Hospital
    • Comer Children's Hospital
  • University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System

Indiana[edit]

  • Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County
  • Indiana University Health

Iowa[edit]

  • Broadlawns Medical Center

Kansas[edit]

  • The University of Kansas Health System

Kentucky[edit]

  • UK HealthCare

Louisiana[edit]

  • University Medical Center New Orleans

Maryland[edit]

  • Bon Secours Hospital

Massachusetts[edit]

  • Baystate Health Medical Center
  • Boston Medical Center
  • Cambridge Health Alliance
  • Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital
  • UMass Memorial Health care
  • Lawrence General Hospital

Michigan[edit]

  • Henry Ford Allegiance Health
  • Hurley Medical Center

Minnesota[edit]

  • Hennepin County Medical Center

Mississippi[edit]

  • The University of Mississippi Health Care

Missouri[edit]

  • Saint Louis University Hospital
  • Truman Medical Centers
  • University of Missouri Health Care

Montana[edit]

  • Benefits Health System

Nebraska[edit]

  • Nebraska Medicine

Nevada[edit]

  • University Medical Center of Southern Nevada

New Jersey[edit]

  • Cooper University Health Care
  • RWJBarnabas Health
  • St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center
  • University Hospital

New Mexico[edit]

  • UNM Health Sciences Center

New York[edit]

  • Erie county Medical Center
  • Nu Health
  • NYC Health + Hospitals
  • SUNY-STATE University of New York

North Carolina[edit]

  • Atrium Health
  • Vidant Health
  • WakeMedHealth & Hospitals

Ohio[edit]

Oregon[edit]

  • Oregon Health & Science University

Pennsylvania[edit]

Rhode Island[edit]

  • Care New England Health System
  • Rhode Island Hospital

South Carolina[edit]

  • Greenville Health System
  • Medical University of South Carolina - University Hospital
  • Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System

Tennessee[edit]

  • Erlanger Health System
  • Nashville General Hospital at Meharry
  • Regional One Health
  • University of Tennessee Medical Center

Texas[edit]

  • Harris Health System
  • JPS Health Network
  • Parkland Health & Hospital System
  • The University of Texas Medical Branch
  • University Health System
  • University Medical Center of El Paso
  • UT Health Northeast

Utah[edit]

  • University of Utah Health Care

Vermont[edit]

  • UVM Health Network

Virginia[edit]

  • Carilion Clinic
  • University of Virginia Health System
  • Virginia Commonwealth University Health System

Washington[edit]

  • UW Medicine
  • Mason General Hospital

West Virginia[edit]

  • West Virginia University Medicine
    • Berkeley MedicalCenter
    • Camden Clark Medical Center
    • Chestnut Ridge Center
    • Jefferson Medical Center
    • Ruby Memorial Hospital
    • United Hospital Center
    • WVU Children's hospital

Patient experience in safety net hospitals[edit]

Studies have shown that safety net hospitals, when compared to non-safety net hospitals (and other healthcare institutions[2]), do not perform as well in overall patient care and patient experience ratings.[30][10] In response to these critiques, safety net hospitals have put emphasis on their attempts to increase their patient experience scores and are developing training classes for customer service that includes employee evaluations as well as employee orientations and advocating for policy changes that could improve the patient experience.[31] Hospitals are trying to increase their compassion and quality of care in order to satisfy patient experiences.[32] Patients who receive satisfying cares are more likely to introduce the hospital to others vs. when they leave with unsatisfaction; therefore, ultimately this would affect the number of patients visiting the revenue of the hospital.[32]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Becker, Gay (2004). "Deadly Inequality in the Health Care 'Safety Net': Uninsured Ethnic Minorities' Struggle to Live with Life-Threatening Illnesses". Medical Anthropology Quarterly. 18 (2): 258–275. doi:10.1525/maq.2004.18.2.258. JSTOR 3655479. PMID 15272807.
  2. ^ a b c d Anderson, Ron; Cunningham, Peter; Hofmann, Paul; Lerner, Wayne; Seitz, Kevin; McPherson, Bruce (2009). "Protecting the Hospital Safety Net". Inquiry. 46 (1): 7–16. doi:10.5034/inquiryjrnl_46.01.7. JSTOR 29773398. PMID 19489480.
  3. ^ a b c d e Waitzkin, Howard (2005-06-01). "Commentary—The History and Contradictions of the Health Care Safety Net". Health Services Research. 40 (3): 941–952. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6773.2005.00430.x. ISSN 1475-6773. PMC 1361178. PMID 15960699.
  4. ^ Medicine, Institute of (2000-03-30). America's Health Care Safety Net: Intact but Endangered. doi:10.17226/9612. ISBN 9780309064972. PMID 25077222.
  5. ^ Zaman, Obaid; Cummings, Linda; Laycox, Sandy. "AMERICA'S SAFETY NET HOSPITALS AND HEALTH SYSTEMS" (PDF). National Public Health and Hospital Institute.
  6. ^ a b Fishman, Linda E.; Bentley, James D. (June 1997). "The Evolution of Support for Safety-Net Hospitals". Health Affairs. 16 (4): 30–47. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.16.4.30. ISSN 0278-2715. PMID 9248148.
  7. ^ a b "The Dependence of Safety Net Hospitals and Health Systems on the Medicare and Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital Payment Programs | Commonwealth Fund". www.commonwealthfund.org. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  8. ^ a b c d Fagnani, Lynne (Nov 1999). "The Dependence of safety net Hospitals and Health Systems On the Medicare and Medicaid disproportionate Share Hospital Payment Programs" (PDF).
  9. ^ a b W., Burt, Catharine; E., Arispe, Irma (October 18, 2017). "Characteristics of emergency departments serving high volumes of safety-net patients; United States, 2000". Center for Disease Control and Prevention (155): 1–16. PMID 15181760.
  10. ^ a b Werner, Rachel M. (2008-05-14). "Comparison of Change in Quality of Care Between Safety-Net and Non–Safety-Net Hospitals". JAMA. 299 (18): 2180–7. doi:10.1001/jama.299.18.2180. ISSN 0098-7484. PMID 18477785.
  11. ^ a b Gaskin, Darrell J.; Hadley, Jack (1999-09-01). "Population characteristics of markets of safety-net and non-safety-net hospitals". Journal of Urban Health. 76 (3): 351–370. doi:10.1007/BF02345673. ISSN 1099-3460. PMC 3456829. PMID 12607901.
  12. ^ "'Safety Net' Hospitals". www.pewtrusts.org. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  13. ^ a b c Knowlton, LM; Morris, AM; Tennakoon, L; Spain, DA; Staudenmayer, KL (August 2018). "Financial Stability of Level I Trauma Centers Within Safety-Net Hospitals". Journal of the American College of Surgeons. 227 (2): 172–180. doi:10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2018.03.043. PMID 29680414.
  14. ^ a b c Rudowitz, Robin (18 November 2013). "How Do Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) Payments Change Under the ACA?" (PDF). Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  15. ^ Sommers, M.D., Ph.D., Benjamin D. (2015). "Health Care Reform's Unfinished Work — Remaining Barriers to Coverage and Access". The New England Journal of Medicine. 373 (25): 2395–2397. doi:10.1056/nejmp1509462. PMID 26509829.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  16. ^ Oberlander, Jonathan (2012-12-06). "The Future of Obamacare". New England Journal of Medicine. 367 (23): 2165–2167. doi:10.1056/nejmp1213674. ISSN 0028-4793. PMID 23171062.
  17. ^ Kaplan, Thomas (2017-03-13). "Health Bill Would Add 24 Million Uninsured but Save $337 Billion, Report Says". New York Times. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  18. ^ Dobson, Allen. "The Financial Impact of the American Health Care Act's Medicaid Provisions on Safety-Net Hospitals". Common Wealth Fund. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  19. ^ a b "H.R. 1628, Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017". Congressional Budget Office. 2017-06-26. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  20. ^ "Obamacare repeal could leave 32 million uninsured and double premiums, report finds - ProQuest". search.proquest.com. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  21. ^ a b Oberlander, Jonathan (2016-11-16). "The End of Obamacare". New England Journal of Medicine. 376 (1): 1–3. doi:10.1056/nejmp1614438. PMID 27959711.
  22. ^ Bazzoli, Gloria J.; Lindrooth, Richard C.; Kang, Ray; Hasnain-Wynia, Romana (2006-08-01). "The Influence of Health Policy and Market Factors on the Hospital Safety Net". Health Services Research. 41 (4p1): 1159–1180. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6773.2006.00528.x. ISSN 1475-6773. PMC 1797078. PMID 16899001.
  23. ^ Haught, Randy. "How the American Health Care Act's Changes to Medicaid Will Affect Hospital Finances in Every State". Common Wealth Fund. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  24. ^ a b "The Healthcare Safety Net: Types of Providers". Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
  25. ^ "FQHC Issues - California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems". California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  26. ^ "Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) Payments". www.medicaid.gov. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  27. ^ "Our Members by State - America's Essential Hospitals". America's Essential Hospitals. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  28. ^ www.bizjournals.com https://www.bizjournals.com/birmingham/news/2013/10/21/report-birmingham-has-weak-safety-net.html. Retrieved 2019-07-08. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  29. ^ "Facts and Figures - California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems". California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  30. ^ Chatterjee, Paula; Joynt, Karen E.; Orav, E. John; Jha, Ashish K. (2012-09-10). "Patient Experience in Safety-Net Hospitals". Archives of Internal Medicine. 172 (16): 1204–10. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.3158. ISSN 0003-9926. PMID 22801941.
  31. ^ Goldman, L. Elizabeth; Henderson, Stuart; Dohan, Daniel P.; Talavera, Jason A.; Dudley, R. Adams (2007-05-01). "Public Reporting and Pay-for-Performance: Safety-Net Hospital Executives' Concerns and Policy Suggestions". INQUIRY: The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing. 44 (2): 137–145. doi:10.5034/inquiryjrnl_44.2.137. ISSN 0046-9580. PMID 17850040.
  32. ^ a b Clark, C. "HOW SAFETY-NET HOSPITALS ARE IMPROVING THE PATIENT EXPERIENCE". health leaders media.

External links[edit]