Charity Care for Those in Need

The legacy of NorthBay Healthcare includes its founders’ belief that residents deserved a locally based, locally managed health care system that would care for all, regardless of an ability to pay.

In 2020, programs and services to help those with limited financial resources were sustained, despite continual cuts from state and federal government sources. Hospitals are paid less by the government to care for patients covered by Medicare and Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California). Community-based hospitals such as ours, therefore, are left to offset the deficit.

The greatest community benefit of a local nonprofit healthcare system is charity care — treatment and services provided to patients who cannot afford to pay and who meet certain financial need criteria.

In 2020, NorthBay Healthcare’s cost of providing charity care to those in need totaled $8.8 million. That is, however, only a fraction of the cost of care for which the hospital and physicians were not reimbursed. Because government insurance programs for the middle class and working poor do not pay the full cost, millions more in free care was provided.

Here are the estimated, unaudited, 2020 costs of NorthBay Healthcare’s treatment for those unable to pay and those covered by government health plans:

Cost of services provided to the poor and underserved in 2020
Cost of charity care $8.8 million
Unpaid costs of public programs:
Medi-Cal $51.6 million
Medicare $69.7 million
Total services for Medi-Cal, Medicare and charity care recipients $132.4 million