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WHYY Quotes Professor Robert Field on Profits Reaped by Nonprofit Hospitals

Professor Robert Field

May 04, 2016

Following the release of a report on huge profits earned by some nonprofit hospitals, Professor Robert Field explained in a WHYY interview that larger health care systems can negotiate higher rates from insurance companies.

“The bigger fish get fed first,” Field said.

In 2013, HUP was the nation’s seventh most profitable hospital, WHYY reported, citing a study published by Health Affairs.

Employers and customers are likely to reject coverage from insurance companies that exclude HUP from their networks, giving the hospital bargaining leverage to increase the cost of care, Field said.

"The real question is what they're doing with those excess funds," Field said. "Is this benefiting the community, or is this going to high salaries for executives or unnecessary amenities?"

The director of the JD-Master of Public Health Program, Field is a professor of law at the Kline School of Law and professor of health management and policy at the Dornsife School of Public Health.  He is the author of “Mother of Invention: How the Government Created ‘Free-Market’ Health Care” and an internationally recognized authority on health policy and health law.