Uncompensated and Government-
Sponsored Care

Uncompensatedand government-sponsored care

Uncompensated care is an overall measure of care provided for which no payment was received from the patient or insurer. It is the sum of a hospital's "bad debt" and the charity care it provides. Charity care is care for which hospitals never expected to be reimbursed. Government-sponsored care includes the unpaid costs of public programs for low-income or older individuals.

Fulfilling our commitment to provide for those most in need in our communities, Barnabas Health ensures that all individuals enrolled in government-sponsored care programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, receive necessary care. This is significant to note because these programs typically do not fully reimburse health systems, including Barnabas Health, for the care provided. In 2013, Barnabas Health invested $71.5 million to care for thousands of Medicare and Medicaid recipients, as well as those enrolled in other means-tested government programs. Barnabas Health receives, on average, only 95 cents for every dollar we spend providing care to Medicare recipients and even less, 91 cents on the dollar, from Medicaid.

We know that not everyone can pay for their health care — but we are committed to ensuring that no one goes without it. That is why the State of New Jersey has created a generous charity care policy that covers patients whose financial circumstances or health insurance status make it difficult for them to pay for any or all of their care.

In 2013, we invested nearly $79.6 million to care for indigent or uninsured patients. Patients who receive charity care are often not eligible for Medicaid or other assistance programs and cannot afford the cost of care
on their own. For many of these patients, Barnabas Health is a health care safety net, providing care at little or no cost to them.

In addition, in 2013 Barnabas Health absorbed nearly $87.7 million of “bad debt,” health care costs that will simply remain unpaid. In total, Barnabas Health provided more than $238.8 million in free or discounted health care to its patients in 2013.

While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made great strides in expanding access to health insurance for thousands of New Jersey residents, there are still many in our communities who have not enrolled in an insurance plan or are not eligible for coverage. In fact, approximately one million New Jersey residents remain uninsured, yet there is a misconception that the ACA eliminated the need for stable charity care funding in New Jersey. Medicaid expansion through the ACA improves our communities’ well-being, but the reimbursement shortfall has a significant, negative financial impact, especially on urban safety-net hospitals, which can be offset by adequate charity care funding.

Barnabas Health also participates in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 340B drug pricing program, which enables safety-net and children’s hospitals, and other covered facilities, to purchase drugs at a discount. The intent of the 340B program is to stretch the federal dollars that pay to cover children and indigent patients. The program covers drugs used in outpatient settings, whether dispensed by in-house pharmacies, contracted pharmacy services or provider/in-house dispensing. Three Barnabas Health hospitals participated in the 340B program in 2013. The 340B program offsets just a small portion of the cost to those facilities participating in Medicaid and providing charity care.

These state and federal programs provide critical assistance to the system and its patients. With 13.2 percent of New Jersey’s population uninsured and countless more in need, Barnabas Health remains dedicated to serving all in our community, regardless of their ability to pay.

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