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Key Facts About Our Members

Members of America’s Essential Hospitals provide state-of-the-art care to the uninsured, low-income, and other vulnerable people who might otherwise have no place to turn. In many communities, our members are the sole source of services that benefit all: trauma and burn care, neonatal intensive care, chronic condition management, health professionals training, research, public health functions and others.

Our members work daily to improve the health of individuals and promote the economic health of communities throughout the nation. The data points below come from 2017 Essential Data: Our Hospitals, Our Patients, Results of America’s Essential Hospitals 2016 Annual Member Characteristics Survey.

Complex Patients

  • Essential hospitals’ patients generally are sicker and more complex than those served at other hospitals nationwide.

Uncompensated Care

  • Essential hospitals provided about $5.5 billion in uncompensated care, 14.4 percent of all uncompensated care nationally;
  • Three-quarters of essential hospitals’ patients were uninsured or covered by Medicaid or Medicare; and
  • One in four patients were covered by traditional commercial insurance.

Community Cornerstone

  • In 2016, members of America’s Essential Hospitals provided non-emergency outpatient care to 79.6 million patients and treated more than 14.7 million patients in their emergency departments. Our members averaged more than 18,000 inpatient discharges per hospital—2.7 times greater than the inpatient volume of other acute-care hospitals nationwide;
  • Essential hospitals trained an average of 223 physicians (defined as U.S. medical and dental residents) per hospital, almost three times as many as those trained at other U.S. teaching hospitals;
  • Essential hospitals also trained an average of 41 more residents than supported by federal graduate medical education (GME) funding, meaning they absorbed significant costs to meet their training mission; and
  • Essential hospitals operated 35 percent of all level I trauma centers and 38 percent of burn care beds;
  • The average essential hospital employed 2,944 people. Together, the association’s members accounted for 656,474 jobs nationwide and contributed to $114.8 billion in economic activity;
  • Essential hospitals served communities where 10.1 million people have limited access to healthy food, 25.3 million people live below the federal poverty line, 19.4 million are uninsured, and 350,000 are homeless;

High Quality, High Value

  • 51 percent of our members participate in accountable care organizations (ACOs) in which they agree to be accountable for the quality, cost, and overall care of beneficiaries assigned to them;
  • 44 percent of our members participate in alternative payment models (APMs), a payment approach that provides incentives for high quality, cost-efficient care;
  • The high rate of essential hospital participation in these models shows a strong commitment to coordinating care among providers to improve quality and lower costs; and
  • Essential hospitals continue to have lower operating margins than the rest of the hospital industry. The aggregate operating margin for members was 4.0 percent, compared with 7.8 percent for all hospitals nationwide. Without Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments, aggregate member operating margins would drop to negative 1.4 percent.

For media inquiries, contact Carl Graziano, director of communications, at or  202.585.0102.


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