November 7, 2008

Vanderbilt dominates in providing charity care

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Vanderbilt dominates in providing charity care

Figures released by Tennessee's Department of Health in its most recent Joint Annual Report of Hospitals (JAR) confirm that Vanderbilt Medical Center continues to provide nearly half (47.9 percent) of all uncompensated medical care delivered by the 10 major hospitals within Davidson County.

The most recent JAR, containing self-reported data from 2007, showed VMC provided a total of $225,064,399 in uncompensated care for that year. Uncompensated care is a combination of three categories: charity care, medically indigent care and bad debt.

The next nearest hospital in terms of overall dollars of uncompensated care provided in Davidson County is Metro Nashville General, which reported furnishing $52,136,335 during the same period.

“Clearly, these figures serve as a measure of Vanderbilt's continued leadership within Nashville's health care hierarchy. By providing a disproportionate share of the uncompensated care for Nashville and Middle Tennessee, we are fulfilling one of our critical missions to the community,” said Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs.

Since 2005, the year several hundred thousand Tennessean were involuntarily removed from the rolls of TennCare (Tennessee's version of Medicaid) VMC's portion of uncompensated care has risen dramatically, from $108 million in fiscal year 2005 to more than $245 million in fiscal year 2008.

This year's JAR showed Nashville's five for-profit hospitals of the Tri-Star group — Centennial Medical Center, Skyline Medical Center, Southern Hills Medical Center, Summit Medical Center and the Skyline Madison Campus — combined to provide 25.1 percent of Davidson County's uncompensated care.

The city's faith-based hospitals, Saint Thomas and Baptist, combined to provide 15.1 percent of the city's uncompensated care.

In 2007 for-profit Centennial Hospital provided a level of uncompensated care equal to its similarly sized nonprofit competitors Saint Thomas Hospital and Baptist Hospital.

In comparison, VMC provides more than four times the level of uncompensated care of Metro Nashville General. VMC provides six times the level of uncompensated care of Centennial Hospital, Saint Thomas Hospital or Baptist Hospital.