- After taking COVID-19 relief dollars meant for struggling hospitals, North Carolina's dominant hospital systems scored record profits during the pandemic. The seven largest hospital systems recorded billions of dollars of growth in cash and investments, but these nonprofits dedicated only a sliver of this windfall to increasing charity care to patients hard hit by the pandemic in 2020.
State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA, will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. on Wednesday to release a new report exposing how North Carolina's major hospital systems profited while others suffered during the economically devastating pandemic. The Washington Post published an article about the report, highlighting the disparities in hospital profits and in COVID relief:
"'The rich got richer,' said North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell, a Republican who is a critic of the business practices of Atrium and other hospital chains in the state. 'It's a transfer of wealth to them from taxpayers,'"
Treasurer Folwell said in the Washington Post article.
Treasurer Folwell invited the North Carolina State Health Plan and the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) to analyze the audited financial statements of Atrium, Novant, UNC, Duke, Vidant, Cone and WakeMed Health and compile the report. The work was peer reviewed by Johns Hopkins University researchers.
Treasurer Folwell will discuss the report's findings with Marilyn Bartlett, CPA, senior policy fellow at NASHP, and Dr. Ge Bai, professor of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and professor of accounting at the Carey Business School. He will be joined by Dr. Dale Owen, CEO of Tryon Medical Partners, an independent physicians' group in Charlotte, state Rep. Allen McNeill, R-Randolph, and other lawmakers.
The report determined that taxpayer-funded COVID relief allowed North Carolina's dominant nonprofit hospital systems to generate net profits and trigger enormous growth in cash and investments. This report also contains the first analysis of how the pandemic affected hospitals' charity care spending, based on newly available 2020 data.
The disproportionate distribution of taxpayer money is expected to fuel hospital price inflation and consolidation. North Carolina already ranks as one of the most monopolistic, unaffordable states in the nation for health care. One in five families has medical debt in collections. A starting teacher or trooper must work one week in every month just to pay their family premium for health care, and hospital price increases intensify the hardship.
Treasurer Folwell is calling on hospital systems to use their profits to lower costs for patients and support legislation mandating sufficient community benefits - or to return the unnecessary, taxpayer-funded relief.
See the "North Carolina Hospital Systems' COVID Profits"
report on the State Health Plan's website under What The Health.
Reporters: If joining the press conference virtually, please use the chat box on GoTo Webinar to ask questions.
What: Press Conference: North Carolina Hospitals Profit During the Pandemic
Who: Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA; Marilyn Bartlett, CPA, National Academy for State Health Policy senior policy fellow; Dr. Ge Bai, professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and professor of accounting at the Carey Business School; state Rep. Allen McNeill, R-Randolph; and other lawmakers.
When: Wednesday, June 22, at 10:00 a.m.
Where: Committee Room 415, North Carolina General Assembly Legislative Office Building, 300 N. Salisbury St, Raleigh, NC 27603. Media is welcome to join in person or on GoTo Webinar. The press conference also will be livestreamed over the department's Facebook page.
Reporters can also join virtually via GoTo Webinar:
Please register for N.C. Hospital Systems Profit During Covid-19 on June 22, 2022, at:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Press Conf. Agenda.pdf
Speakers - Press Conf 6-22-22.pdf