Summer Lee Slams UPMC for Ranking #1 Least Charitable Nonprofit Hospital in the United States 

Apr 12, 2023
Press

Summer Lee Slams UPMC for Ranking #1 Least Charitable Nonprofit Hospital in the United States 

(Washington, DC) – After a new report by the Lown Institute’s Hospital Index found that UPMC Presbyterian is the the number one least charitable nonprofit hospital in the United States, Congresswoman Summer Lee (PA-12) released the following statement:

“The people of Western PA work hard for their paychecks. They pay their fair share in taxes–and hospital monopolies like UPMC should too. We already knew UPMC was ripping us off, exploiting our hospital workers to the point of a staffing crisis that puts our loved ones’ lives at risk, and leaving our most marginalized communities behind without access to care. But the fact that we now know that UPMC is cheating our community out of $246M on the backs of taxpayers, enough to erase medical debt for 167,000 Pennsylvanians – is shameful beyond reprieve. Instead of promoting the health of our families, they only care about promoting their profitability. It’s time for accountability.” 

The report – which found that UPMC Presbyterian’s spending on charity care and community investment is less than the value of their tax exemption by a whopping $246 million – calculated “fair share” spending for more than 1700 nonprofit hospitals by comparing each system’s spending on financial assistance and community investment to the estimated value of its tax exemption. The data source for “fair share” spending is IRS Form 990 for fiscal year ending 2020.

Western Pennsylvania’s hospital monopoly and notorious union-buster, which is responsible for the region’s hospital staffing crisis and is currently under investigation by the City of Pittsburgh to see whether the city’s purely public charities meet the requirements for tax-exempt status, is a case study of a nationwide problem. The report examined the finances of 1,773 nonprofit hospitals in the United States and found that more than three-quarters fall short on expected investments in their communities. The combined deficits of nonprofit hospitals totaled $14.2 billion in 2020, enough to relieve the medical debt of 18 million Americans or prevent 600 at-risk rural hospitals from closing.

Not only are nonprofit hospitals exempted from paying most federal, state, and local taxes in exchange for providing free or discounted care and programs that address community health needs, like substance abuse treatment, affordable housing, or access to healthy foods, but they’re also not under the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) antitrust authority. 

UPMC Presbyterian had the largest “fair share” deficit of any hospital in the country at $246 million in 2020. Other hospitals with the largest “fair share” deficits in the nation include:

NYU Langone Hospitals (New York) 

Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Nashville) 

Hospital of University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)

Indiana University Health (Indianapolis) 

Spectrum Health Butterworth Campus (Grand Rapids, Mich.) 

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (Los Angeles) 

M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center (Minneapolis) 

Umass Memorial Medical Center (Worcester, MA)

Arizona General Hospital Mesa (Mesa, AZ)

Many of these hospitals ended the year with net incomes close to or exceeding their “fair share” deficits, suggesting they had the financial means to meet their spending obligations.

Lee has been on the frontlines of Hospital Workers Risings’ battle with University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) since her days in the State House, working as a convener of the Hospital Workers Task Force alongside organizers, playing a key role in the State House hearing, and appearing in the upcoming documentary, Inhospitable.  In February, Lee invited Hospital Workers Rising Organizer Nila Payton as her State of the Union Guest, highlighting Nila’s struggle being in thousands of dollars of medical debt to her employer. This January, Lee and State Representative Sara Innamorato held a press conference at the release of a new report with the American Economic Liberties Project detailing the harms of UPMC’s monopoly and monopoly power on hospital workers and patients in the Pittsburgh area.

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