"If we want hospital behavior to change, there needs to be greater transparency and accountability," says Dr. Vikas Saini, president of the Lown Institute.
A new report from the Lown Institute—a healthcare think tank—suggests that New York City hospitals have not been holding up their end of the bargain when it comes to local tax breaks and community investment.
The study looked at 21 hospitals and found that "nine have a Fair Share deficit—meaning that the value of their community investments fails to equal the value of their federal, state, and local tax breaks." The study found that—in total—the nine hospitals are $727 million short of equaling the $1.2 billion in tax breaks they received in 2019.
"Communities make good faith investments through these tax breaks and expect that hospitals will hold up their end of the bargain," Vikas Saini, MD, president of the Lown Institute, said in an email release regarding the study. "Our evidence shows that’s not always the case."
New York-Presbyterian had $493 million in tax breaks and had the largest Fair Share deficit of all hospitals at $359 million. That figure is nearly half of the city’s total deficit, according to the Lown Institute study. Montefiore Medical Center had the largest surplus at $76 million.
These are the nine New York City hospitals with Fair Share deficits for 2019:
- New York-Presbyterian Hospital - $359 million
- New York University Langone Medical Center - $167 million
- Mount Sinai Hospital - $98 million
- New York-Presbyterian/Brooklyn Methodist Hospital - $43 million
- Staten Island University Hospital - $25 million
- Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital - $25 million
- Wyckoff Heights Medical Center - $4.3 million
- New York-Presbyterian/Queens - $3.7 million
- Brooklyn Hospital Center - Downtown Campus - $1.6 million
The report suggests that the total Fair Share deficit is enough to triple the City’s budget for annual school meals, create new affordable housing, or even pay off the medical debt for every patient sued by an NYC hospital over the last half-decade.
"If we want hospital behavior to change, there needs to be greater transparency and accountability," Dr. Saini continued. "New regulations are long overdue."
Amanda Schiavo is the Finance Editor for HealthLeaders.