Delaware hospitals

Delaware hospitals gave away $978M in FY 2020

Staff WriterHeadlines, Health

Delaware hospitals



Delaware’s hospitals and health system provided nearly $978 million in community benefit spending during Fiscal Year 2020, according to a new report from the Delaware Healthcare Association.

Community benefit spending includes charity care, bad debt, losses on government-sponsored health insurance and support for community programs.

The figure was included in the Delaware Healthcare Association’s 2022 Community Benefits Report, a biennial report of the public health and economic benefits Delaware hospitals and health systems provide to the state. 

Dr. Chris Casscells, director of the Caesar Rodney Institute’s Center for Health Policy, said he’s not impressed by the report.

“This is a well crafted press release,” he said. “After a career in the Legislature that often dealt with the healthcare industry, Wayne Smith retired to head up the DHA, and has successfully lobbied for the Delaware hospitals since.”

The report also sheds light on the impact of COVID-19 on hospital finances. 

Delaware hospitals, on average, had an operating margin of -3.8% during FY 2020 without federal COVID-19 relief. 

Including federal assistance, Delaware hospitals had an operating margin of just 0.34% — just above the breakeven point. 

“Regardless of the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, Delaware hospitals and health systems continued to make significant investments in the health and well-being of all Delawareans,” said Wayne Smith, president and CEO of the Delaware Healthcare Association. 

The report finds that in 2020, Delaware hospitals contributed nearly $978 million statewide in community benefit spending, including:

  • $775.66 million in unpaid costs of patient care, such as charity care ($47.85 million), bad debt ($65.5 million), and unpaid costs from Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare ($662.29 million)
  • $202.2 million in community benefit services and programs that aim to advance health or address unmet needs in our communities

According to the report, Delaware hospitals spent over $3.9 billion on goods and services from other businesses and generated some $6.9 billion in economic activity.

  • Hospital Jobs: 22,797
  • Average Salary: $86,999
  • State and Local Taxes Paid: $68,189,739
  • Hospitals support 47,978 jobs in Delaware (10.74% of jobs in the State) and generate $6.9 billion in economic activit

“The numbers presented are a Covid anomaly,” said Casscells, “whereas Christiana Hospital Systems routinely posts double digit profit numbers several multiples of most businesses.”

Delaware hospitals are members of defacto Accountable Care Organizations, he pointed out.
Those are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together voluntarily to give coordinated high quality care to the Medicare patients they serve, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service.
The ultimate goal of those groups is to reduce expenses while providing better outcomes for patients and enhancing the general health of a community. 
“They are obligated to treat everyone regardless of ability to pay,” Casscells said.

About the report

The health systems that provided data for this report include Bayhealth, Beebe Healthcare, ChristianaCare, TidalHealth Nanticoke, Nemours Children’s Health and Saint Francis Hospital.

The Delaware Healthcare Association biennially collects data to quantify total community benefit contributions from all Delaware hospitals.

To read the report in its entirety, click here.

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