House committe okays bill requiring hospital systems to report community benefit spending

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A Delaware House committee has passed legislation that would order the state’s nonprofit hospital systems to report their community benefit spending.

House Bill 326 would require hospitals to report spending on uncompensated care, support for medical research, health education and prevention programs, community clinic subsidies, and social factors that affect health, according to the bill’s text.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Paul Baumbach, D-Newark, has no Republican co-sponsors.

Under the bill, the report would be submitted by Jan. 31 and would be available to the public.

Sponsors noted that 31 other states, including all of Delaware’s neighboring states, require similar reports.

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The state’s nonprofit hospital systems issue financial reports to the Internal Revenue Service that are publicly available and sometimes disclose the dollar amount of uncompensated care offered. Filings are also made with Medicare and Medicaid regulators.

The large market shares in the territories of the two largest hospital systems, ChristianaCare and Bayhealth, have been viewed by critics as a factor in the state’s high healthcare costs.

Sussex County sees more competition with Bayhealth, Beebe Healthcare and TidalHealth (Seaford) in the mix.

Click here for a copy of the bill.

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