Much of the published news in recent weeks has put Manatee County's healthcare industry and elected county commission under scrutiny. As CEO of Manatee Memorial Hospital and being in the for-profit hospital environment for 30 years, I feel obligated to clarify some of the misnomers used to differentiate for-profit and not-for-profit hospitals in hopes of sharing a different perspective.
First and foremost, it should be known that not-for-profit and for-profit hospitals operate in much the same way.
Every hospital in the country is accredited, licensed and governed by the same regulatory bodies at the federal level and throughout each respective state. We measure the same outcomes and use many of the same tools to do so.
Our desires to provide the highest quality of services based on the demands of our communities are the same and our viability is inevitably tied to the communities we are a part of. As such, it is difficult for me to see the hospitals in Manatee County being misrepresented for being for-profit facilities and I am compelled to share the following comparisons.
A not-for-profit hospital status indicates a facility does not pay either state or local property taxes or federal income taxes because it is considered a charity and provides certain community benefits in accordance with state and federal guidelines. Examples of not-for-profit hospitals would include Sarasota Memorial Hospital and Tampa General Hospital.
A for-profit hospital indicates the facility is either owned by private investors or owned publicly by shareholders as part of a company that issues shares of stock to raise revenue to enhance the hospital's activities and scope of services in the communities served. These facilities pay millions of dollars in federal income tax, state and local property taxes.
In recent years, investor-owned hospitals have expanded nationally, often purchasing financially distressed facilities or stand-alone hospitals that are in need of access to capital for expansion.
A local example is Bayfront Medical Center recently purchased by for-profit HMA and Manatee Memorial purchased by the Baptist System in 1984. Depending on economic conditions, for-profit hospitals can have better access to capital vs. not-for-profits that expand by issuing tax-exempt bonds and asking for donations.
To put it in perspective, a comparison of counties shows that Sarasota County currently has approximately 379,000 residents vs. Manatee County with 329,000. Sarasota County has four acute care hospitals -- Sarasota Memorial, Venice Regional Hospital, Doctors Hospital of Sarasota and Englewood Community -- with a total of 1,217 beds. Manatee County has three acute care, for-profit hospitals -- Manatee Memorial, Blake Medical Center and Lakewood Ranch Medical Center -- with a total of 822 beds.
In Sarasota County, only one hospital receives funding, Sarasota Memorial. It is funded by property taxes that are issued by the elected taxing district.
The taxes generated by the ad valorem tax provide approximately $49 million per year, all of which is given to Sarasota Memorial. The amount of charity care that Sarasota Memorial Hospital claimed to provide for fiscal year 2012 was $58,612,505.
In Manatee County, we have a corpus from the sale of Manatee Memorial in 1984. The fund is currently at $15 million and will be depleted in 2015. The total amount of dollars spent from the corpus on indigent care in Manatee County is approximately $9 million per year and is spread among all three hospitals, Manatee Glens, Manatee County Rural Health Services and physicians in the county that are enrolled in the program.
Last year, Manatee Memorial Hospital provided over $60 million in traditional charity care to the citizens of Manatee County. So when comparing the two counties, Sarasota County gave $49 million to Sarasota Memorial to cover $58 million in charity care vs. Manatee County's spending $9 million, $6.9 million of which came to Manatee Memorial to offset over $60 million of charity care. Sounds like a pretty good investment and a prudent job by our county officials.
Manatee County has always been fiscally sound in the management of the initial $45 million corpus. For those funds to last 30 years and to provide care to the indigent is a job well done based on the challenges that our community faced and will face in the future.
With little chance of the Florida House accepting any federal funds under the Affordable Care Act in the foreseeable future,
Manatee County is challenged as to how we will fill this funding gap to continue providing the care and services needed by all our citizens.
Kevin DiLallo, is the chief executive officer of Manatee Memorial Hospital.