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Top 20 non-profit hospitals raked in $23 billion from taxpayer-funded COVID aid while profits soared: Report

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The 20 largest non-profit hospitals in the United States received $23 billion in taxpayer-funded COVID aid during the pandemic, according to a new report. The hospitals received billions in COVID aid while profits soared.

Of the 20 hospital systems that were given federal COVID-19 handouts of $23 billion, reportedly only two providers partially paid back their bailout money.

Receiving the most taxpayer-funded COVID aid was San Francisco-based CommonSpirit Health with $3.6 billion, according to a new report from Open the Books – a watchdog group that focuses on government spending. Providence St. Joseph Center was provided $3 billion, Ascension Healthcare was given $2.7 billion, and Michigan-based Livonia Health snagged $2.3 billion in COVID financial aid.

"The 20 largest non-profit hospitals in the country continued making massive profits while their cumulative net assets soared to $324.3 billion in 2021 from $200.6 billion in 2018," according to the Open the Books report.

The top 20 non-profit hospital systems received federal aid while they reportedly saw their combined net assets soar by $124 billion between 2018 and 2021 – a whopping 62% increase over the timespan that included the COVID-19 pandemic.

Net assets for the Mayo Clinic skyrocketed by 92% during the three years, according to the report. Intermountain Healthcare reportedly was up $11.6 billion or 63%. The Cleveland Clinic Health System purportedly enjoyed a spike in net assets by 60%. Indiana University Health System saw an increase of 47%.

The analysis also found that hospital executives benefited greatly during the pandemic by pocketing compensation packages that "frequently exceeded $10 million per year."

The CEO of Ascension Healthcare – based in St. Louis, Missouri – made $13 million in 2021, and a total of $22 million in the 2018-2021 period.

The report also cited an analysis by Patient Rights Advocate, a non-profit organization demanding healthcare price transparency, regarding hospitals adhering to a healthcare transparency rule that was initiated by the Trump administration in 2020 and finalized by the Biden administration in 2021.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services notes, "Hospital price transparency helps Americans know the cost of a hospital item or service before receiving it. Starting January 1, 2021, each hospital operating in the United States will be required to provide clear, accessible pricing information online about the items and services they provide."

Patient Rights Advocate reviewed 2,000 U.S. hospitals and determined that less than 25% of hospitals were in complete compliance with the healthcare price transparency rule as of February 2023.

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