For the latest coronavirus care instructions and resources, please call our COVID-19 hotline at 208-381-9500. Find additional information and resources here and learn more about how we’re working to keep you healthy and safe.

toggle mobile menu Menu
toggle search menu

Site Navigation



Blog Post

St. Luke's Blogs

St. Luke’s Health System Reports nearly $439 Million in Community Benefit

 In December, St. Luke's Health System opened a new Meridian Surgery Center. The expansion was part of the more than $100 million St. Luke's invested in capital expansions during 2013. Capital investments are part of the nearly $439 million St. Luke's provided in community benefit in Ada and Canyon Counties.
By Ken Dey, News and Community
January 24, 2014

Boise, IDAHO – St. Luke’s Health System operations in the Treasure and Magic valleys recorded $438,990,823 million in community benefit for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2013.

As a not-for-profit organization, St. Luke’s is exempt from some property taxes. To maintain that exemption, St. Luke’s is required to report annually to Ada and Twin Falls counties the amount of money the organization classifies as community benefit. St. Luke’s operations in other counties in Idaho don’t produce enough revenue to require a community benefit report.

The 2013 amount represents a nearly 20 percent increase over the nearly $353 million in community benefit reported in 2012.

In the community benefit report filed with the counties each December, St. Luke’s reports amounts paid in the year for unreimbursed services such as charity care, bad debt write-offs, and costs of care not paid for through government programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. In addition, St. Luke’s includes the amount donated to community services, both in direct funds and in-kind donations, as well as the amount of capital St. Luke’s spends in the fiscal year.

St. Luke’s reports its community benefits in three categories:

  • Unreimbursed services:
    • Charity care
    • Bad debt
    • Medicare under-reimbursement
    • Medicaid under-reimbursement
    • Other unreimbursed services
    • Community benefit:
      • Services
      • Programs
      • Other social services
      • Additions to capital: Expenditures for land, facilities, equipment, and other capital that support the organization’s mission
The largest increase year-over-year was a 27.3 percent increase in the amount of under-reimbursement from Medicare. In 2013, St. Luke’s recorded $146.6 million in under-reimbursement in Medicare, up from $108.7 million in 2012. More than half of all St. Luke’s patients are covered by either Medicaid or Medicare, which only pays about 70 percent of the cost required to provide services to those patients.

 St. Luke's Health System supports a variety of community medical services including the Garden City Clinic in the Treasure Valley.

Medicaid under-reimbursement increased also from 2012 to 2013, by 8.7 percent. In 2013, St. Luke’s recorded $39.6 million in under-reimbursed Medicaid costs, which was up from $36.1 million in 2012.

As a not-for-profit health system, St. Luke’s hospitals and clinics cannot turn anyone away for their inability to pay and must accept all Medicare and Medicaid patients. Because some patients cannot afford care or do not meet their debt obligations, St. Luke’s also has to write off a significant amount of charity care and bad debt.

In 2013, St. Luke’s reported a 4.6 percent increase in charity care, from $20.9 million in 2012 to $21.9 million in 2013.

Bad debt also increased by 22.1 percent, from $29.8 million in 2012 to $38.2 million in 2013.

“For more than a century, St. Luke’s has been committed to serving everyone in our communities, regardless of their ability to pay, and we are not going to waver from that commitment,” said Dr. David C. Pate, St. Luke’s Health System president and CEO. “We expect to see a continued decline in state and federal reimbursements, so it is critical that we continue our efforts to transform health care and deliver on our promise to achieve the Triple Aim of better health, better care, and lower cost.”

In addition to the costs related to under-reimbursed government programs, bad debt and charity care, St. Luke’s continues to invest  in community services and programs that benefit community health. In 2013,  St. Luke’s invested $23.2 million in the  Treasure Valley and $5.7 million in the Magic Valley. Some examples of community services funded by St. Luke’s include:

  • More than $10 million to educate health professionals. St. Luke’s supports this effort through things like scholarships, support for faculty positions and investments in capital projects at Idaho universities.
  • More than $5 million for community health improvement services, which includes support of community health programs and community clinics.
St. Luke's also invested nearly $160 million in capital expenditures for land, facilities equipment, and other capital projects that support the health system's mission.

About The Author

Ken Dey served as Public Relations Coordinator at St. Luke's from 2008-2014.