Community Benefit

North Carolina communities are unique. The hospitals and health systems that serve these communities are equally so. That uniqueness extends to hospital policies for assisting patients with financial challenges. These policies, combined with each community’s demographics, greatly influence the amount of the local hospital’s charity care and other community benefits. Economic conditions among communities differ, prompting different hospital standards for charity care. There is also no one-size-fits-all solution for segmenting between charity care (health care services provided free of charge or at a substantial discount) and bad debt (an unpaid obligation by an individual who could pay for the health care service they received).

Hospitals and health systems depend on the state’s Certificate of Need law to enable them to provide essential services to their communities. As the safety net providers in their communities, hospitals and health systems use the funds earned in excess of cost in one service line to cover charity care and bad debt expenses for which they are not reimbursed. Those funds also support other services, like emergency care, that are reimbursed at less than cost to preserve access to care for everyone in their communities.

NC hospitals and health systems are committed to providing healthcare consumers with useful information to help them make decisions about care for themselves and their families. Understanding financial assistance policies is vital for consumers to make a reasoned comparison of hospital community benefit reports.

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North Carolina Healthcare Association

5440 Wade Park Blvd, Suite 410
Raleigh, NC 27607

Main: 919-677-2400
Fax: 919-677-4200
Mail to: PO Box 4449, Cary, NC 27519-4449

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