The “Non-Profit” Hospital Balance

In the comments of my post about the EHR Workforce Shortage, I got the following comment:

The greatest problem is that I face is that the highest level of management takes the line “we are non-profit, we can’t spend money freely…” when I ask for software or an additional programmer.

For anyone that’s worked at a non-profit healthcare organization it’s a really odd situation. It’s often like the “non-profit” card is played whenever they need an excuse to not spend money. There’s just an odd dance that we continue to play in healthcare when it comes to non-profits.

I’m reminded of Michael J. Fox on Letterman the other night who said “I’m working really hard to ensure that I put my foundation out of business.” I don’t see the same thing happening in non-profit hospitals. Most are acting much more like for profit entities that want to maximize revenue than non-profit organizations that want to solve a problem. When was the last time you heard a hospital say “I can’t wait until we can close the wing of our hospital and see less patients”?

What other impacts have you seen from non-profit versus for profit hospitals? Has your Health IT budget been skimped because you’re working at a non-profit?

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

1 Comment

  • Our non-profit hospital frequently miscalculates what our for-profit business can afford to do — because we pay taxes, which they don’t. It means we have 12 to 30 percent less cash to do something than they do.

    But our state (KS) did not expand Medicaid — and all th4e DSH payments are going away, so those who are showing up at the ER or admitted to the hospital w/o insurance and who cannot pay are going to leave the hospital holding the bag.

    Result? Less income/cash flow.

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