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Advancing Non-Profit Health Care

Incorporated in late 2002, the Alliance’s sole purpose is to protect and enhance the abilities of nonprofit healthcare organizations to serve society and their individual communities.

Through research, public education, and advocacy, the Alliance seeks to provide a strong, cohesive and persistent "voice" for a wide range of nonprofit healthcare organizations sharing many common goals and challenges--hospitals, health insurers, nursing homes, malpractice liability insurers, home care providers, and others. In addition, through education and other types of programs, the Alliance seeks to enhance the performance of nonprofit healthcare organizations in carrying out their unique roles and responsibilities.

Historical Perspective
Nonprofit healthcare organizations, whether involved in the financing and/or delivery of services, have long been the backbone of the American healthcare system. The reasons for governments’ and businesses’ traditional support of this "third sector" lie in a number of basic beliefs and values held by most Americans:

Health care, like education, is a "public good" or "social service", essential to human dignity and the pursuit of happiness.

  • A healthy society rests on the health of its citizens
  • Healthcare needs differ locally and are best prioritized and addressed within the political, social and economic fabric of each community
  • Government cannot and should not try to meet all of society’s needs, and "running things" is generally best left to the private sector.

The overriding purpose of nonprofit healthcare organizations is to "do good" for the benefit of their communities. Unlike investor-owned organizations, which are economically driven and legally obligated to do well financially for their owners, with profits primary, nonprofit healthcare organizations are obligated along with government at all levels to meet society’s needs for medical education and research and to advocate for and meet the needs of the most vulnerable members of their communities. Profits of nonprofit healthcare organizations do not inure to the benefit of individuals and, while necessary over the long run, are secondary.

With a fluctuating economy, rising healthcare costs, government and business cutbacks in their commitments to healthcare, pressures at all levels for tax relief, and ever increasing numbers of uninsured and underinsured (over 15% of the U.S. population are without any health insurance protection, as of 2002), never have nonprofit healthcare organizations been more needed to fill the gaps. Yet, their ability to do so is severely challenged by a variety of forces, including but not limited to:

  • general ignorance on the part of the general public, opinion leaders and Wall Street (and even within parts of the healthcare field) about the unique role, responsibilities and performance of nonprofit healthcare organizations
  • periodic government attempts to tighten or eliminate tax exemptions
  • pressures from within or externally to convert nonprofit healthcare organizations to investor-owned companies
  • entry into communities of investor-owned specialty providers that unnecessarily duplicate existing capacity of services that nonprofits rely on to help subsidize care to the uninsured and other vulnerable groups
  • increasing needs for capital, to support increased uncompensated care, new information systems and other technology advances, renovation of facilities and equipment, etc.
  • public controversies and bad press for nonprofit healthcare organizations as a whole, caused by real and alleged unethical or illegal behaviors by a few

In light of the above, the Alliance seeks to:

  • demonstrate the value of nonprofits to regain public understanding and respect
  • bring better balance to public policy discussions about nonprofit healthcare
  • help nonprofits enhance their value to the communities they serve and society

In pursuing these objectives, the Alliance will collaborate wherever possible with other alliances and associations that share common interests and constituencies. The Alliance believes in synergy, and in building upon, not duplicating or re-inventing, the efforts of others.