EyeOnBI.org is part of an effort to return Beth Israel Deaconess to its founding principles and ensure that the administration is putting the interests of patients, workers and community members first. Read more




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Tuesday
Mar232010

BIDMC provided just 0.47% of its revenue as charity care to the uninsured in 2007, well below the national average.

In order to make sure that all Massachusetts residents have access to healthcare, hospitals are expected to offer certain levels of charitable care to the poor and the uninsured and to provide community benefits. In return, hospitals are exempt from paying property taxes and receive other substantial tax breaks.

However, BIDMC provided just 0.47% of its revenue as charity care to the uninsured in 2007, well below the national average (Source: BIDMC's unreimbursed charity care according to their Audited Financial Statement for the Fiscal Year ending Sept. 30, 2007.)

Perhaps more disturbing, Beth Israel Deaconess has one of the most opaque methods for reporting charity care levels, which are actually much lower than it claims in its financial statements. The healthcare workers union, 1199SEIU, requested that BIDMC restate its financial audits for 2005 and 2006 and that the BIDMC apply higher disclosure standards going forward. It is our hope that once BIDMC presents a clear picture of exactly how much charity care it provides, the hospital can then be held accountable for providing a greater level of charitable care to Massachusetts residents.

News reports on BIDMC’s misleading method of charity care reporting
Several news outlets reported on evidence of BIDMC’s commingling of charity care levels - i.e. care that is provided at no cost based on patient’s income - with certain uncollectible bad debts. Generally, this method of charity care reporting is under scrutiny by the IRS and Congress. The healthcare workers union, 1199SEIU, contends that BIDMC board members who also serve on the boards of publicly traded companies covered by Sarbanes-Oxley should apply their knowledge of disclosure standards in their role as nonprofit fiduciaries. Sarbanes-Oxley is a federal law applicable to most publicly traded companies that was created in response to a variety of accounting scandals. It mandates certain financial disclosure and transparency standards. Under Massachusetts law, executives of publicly traded companies must apply their specialized knowledge in their role as nonprofit fiduciaries.