Hospital Accountability Project

Key infection data for all hospitals, including those in Georgia, is now available through information available online via a federal report card.

The US Department of Health & Human Services website hospitalcompare.hhs.gov provides key information on a hospital’s instances of infections linked to central lines, which are catheters implanted to provide critical fluids and medications to sick patients. Unfortunately, these central lines can also make patients vulnerable to infections that can have a devastating effect on those already struggling to get well.

By knowing how their hospitals rank in regards to these, and other, key measures, patients are better equipped to make decisions about where they get their health care. Read more

Hospitals are the central component of Georgia’s vast and complicated health care system. As key health care providers that offer a wide range of services, these hospitals have a unique opportunity to help reduce access disparities for vulnerable populations – particularly those that are low-income, uninsured and underinsured. Hospitals are able to address the barriers to affordable care that confront uninsured, underinsured and low-income consumers by working within their facility, the community and lawmakers to enact policies and create programs that will better the fiscal and physical health of their hospitals and patients. Through these programs, hospitals are able to boost the overall fiscal and physical health of its community.

We recently authored a report titled “Georgia nonprofit hospitals and the vulnerable patient,” which provides an analysis of Georgia nonprofit hospitals and community benefit programs. Read the report here.

Approximately 82 percent of Georgia’s hospitals are nonprofit entities, meaning these facilities have particular obligations to their communities due to the tax revenue the community forgoes. The most important way a nonprofit hospital can begin to return the value of its tax-exemption to the community is through direct financial assistance to low-income patients. Well-designed community benefit programs go beyond the hospital walls and into the community itself. Information about community benefit programs are to be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) via IRS Form 990′s Schedule H, which requires hospitals to disclose key quantitative and qualitative information. Unfortunately, for Fiscal Year 2010, the IRS deemed this disclosure optional. To date, only 24 of Georgia’s nonprofit hospitals have completed this form in a publicly-accessible manner.

In October 2011, we issued a letter to the IRS voicing our concern over the IRS decision and its potential impact on patients. You can read the letter here.