One of the great things non-profit hospitals do is provide care to all paying and non-paying patients at all hours of the day. In return, they are exempt from paying property or sales taxes.

However, it’s always been difficult to measure whether a hospital’s charitable contributions are equivalent to the value of its tax-exempt status. Yesterday’s Washington Post reports on a recent study comparing total uncompensated care between non-profit and for-profit hospitals:

There’s no difference between nonprofits and for-profits in terms of that more broad expenditure, the study found. On average, both spent 4.4 percent of their operating expenditures on uncompensated care.

‘The takeaway is not that we should not be giving tax breaks, but that there should be a little more accountability,’ said Renee Hsia, a lead author of the study and a UCSF professor. ‘These are exemptions that, if we didn’t have them, could fund education, water or public utilities.’

Keep reading here.