This year, America’s Essential Hospitals celebrates 40 years of service as the nation’s foremost champion for hospitals with a mission to care for the underserved while promoting health equity. Our annual profile of our members’ work and the people and communities they serve, Essential Data: Our Hospitals, Our Patients, shows the indispensable care they provide for all people, regardless of financial and social circumstances. Essential Data also illustrates the social and economic hardships that can negatively influence health and disproportionately affect the people and communities our members serve.
While the data in this report change year to year, the message remains the same: millions of people rely on essential hospitals for exceptional care, jobs and economic activity, and front-line leadership in times of greatest need.
This year’s report, based on data collected from our annual member characteristics survey and other national sources, found persistently high levels of uncompensated and charity care pushed the average margin at essential hospitals down to one-third that of other hospitals in 2019.
Essential Data: Our Hospitals, Our Patients, also found essential hospitals:
- provided 16.5 percent of all uncompensated care nationally, or about $6.9 billion;
- served communities in which 22.3 million individuals live below the poverty line, 9.9 million struggle with food insecurity, and three-quarters were uninsured or covered by Medicaid or Medicare;
- accounted for a third of the nation’s level I trauma centers and nearly 40 percent of burn care beds; and
- trained three times more physician residents than other U.S. teaching hospitals.
Infographics and narrative stories throughout the report illustrate the findings, documenting the vital role essential hospitals play in caring for vulnerable people and communities.