Essential hospitals – more than 300 of the nation’s largest safety net providers and about 5% of all U.S. acute-care hospitals – provided more than a quarter of all charity care nationally in 2021, but charity and other uncompensated care left these hospitals in the red, according to a new report from America’s Essential Hospitals.

Overall, these hospitals had an average operating margin of -8.6%, compared with -1.4% for all other hospitals, based on Medicare cost report data.

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