Hospitals Put the ‘Profit’ in ‘Nonprofit’ 

What should we do when brutal violence happens in our communities? When something terrible happens, many of us turn away. This is a natural response to painful truths. But it will not help us change things for the better. No, to make change, we

How can community hospitals aspire to become dominant regional medical centers in a generation without relying on community fund drives, etc.? History (now of minimal importance in Idaho universities) might aid understanding.

In 1982, TEFRA [Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act] was signed into law, attempting to balance the federal budget. That act substantially changed Medicare by allowing hospitals great leverage controlling (and redistributing to themselves) some physician incomes.

These changes first applied to income for procedures' billing, especially for those performed in hospitals or in their other owned facilities.

This greatly increased hospital revenues. Surges followed in hospitals buying physician practices and leading to greatly increased incomes for these entities still deemed "nonprofit," allowing them to morph into "medical centers."

To retain their "nonprofit" status, other expenses such as real estate acquisition for "growing service needs," medical practice purchases, etc., were needed to balance their nonprofit bottom lines.

Hospital administrations once led by active-informed/retired religious and lay leaders then became aviaries of high degreed (and very well paid) administrators concerned with market share, control and (hopefully) quality.

Corporate medicine and medical insurance corporations had arrived. Thereafter, local political and legal battles followed over their further controlling physician practices and their private property encroachment.

For further health care politics and economics reading, the Harper's July 2015 issue is recommended. More recent studies published in JAMA and elsewhere show health care costs to not be reduced nor health care insurance premium increases limited by America's arrival of corporate medicine—especially in our smaller cities.Idaho should take note.

—Frederick W. Bauer, MD


Pin It

More by Frederick W. Bauer, MD

Readers also liked…


Comments are closed.


Latest in Guest Opinions

  • From the Far Margins

    You people are a threat to us
    • Oct 12, 2016
  • Art, Censorship and Race in Small-Town Idaho

    For a week our town had another voice—an alternative perspective. We were given the challenge to listen through Tamia’s art and we failed.
    • Oct 5, 2016
  • From the Far Margins: Comfort

    My agreement with spiders is not worth the air I once spoke it into. I cannot make pacts with them to stay in their place, to never intrude on my house or my life. I can’t ask them to make me comfortable. Even the most gentle of us bite in self defense.
    • Sep 28, 2016
  • More »

Larry King Interviews…

Popular Events

  • HomeGrown Theatre: 5th Annual Horrific Puppet Affair @ Woodland Empire Ale Craft

    • Thu., Oct. 20, 8 p.m., Fri., Oct. 21, 8 p.m., Sat., Oct. 22, 8 & 10:15 p.m., Fri., Oct. 28, 8 p.m., Sat., Oct. 29, 8 & 10:15 p.m. and Mon., Oct. 31, 8 p.m. $5-$10
    • Buy Tickets
  • The Center Big Idea: Idaho Stories Artist Talk With Scott Fife @ Sun Valley Center for the Arts

    • Thu., Oct. 20, 5:30 p.m. FREE
  • CWI Free Application Week @ College of Western Idaho Nampa Campus

    • Oct. 31-Nov. 7 FREE

© 2016 Boise Weekly

Website powered by Foundation