According to the 2014 American Hospital Association Annual Survey, there are 5,686 hospitals in the United States. Of that total, 2,904 are public hospitals, and 1,060 are private. There are a total of 795,603 staffed beds in public hospitals and 118,910 staffed beds in private hospitals. Public hospitals had about 33.6 million admissions annually while private hospitals had about 1.8 million admissions annually. Public hospitals play a vital role in our nation’s health care system, delivering care and providing access to essential health and social services in underserved communities.
In addition, more than half of public hospital patients are racial and ethnic minorities, and a majority of patients are uninsured or qualify for Medicaid. Public hospitals have long led the health care field in providing quality care to diverse and vulnerable communities.
Public hospital operating margins have hovered at breakeven levels on average. Though they are owned by state and local governments, the amount of state and local funding varies considerably and does not offer full support to care for the uninsured and other uncompensated costs.