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Largest Catholic health care system has $17 billion in revenue

Catholic World News - February 25, 2014

Ascension Health Ministries, a Catholic health care system formed from the 1999 merger of the Daughters of Charity National Health System and the Sisters of St. Joseph Health System, has become the nation’s largest nonprofit health system.

“Ascension’s $30 billion in assets include cash and investment portfolios worth about $15 billion,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. “Its $2.7 billion in nonoperating earnings-- such as gains from investments-- in 2013 dwarfed its nearly $400 million in earnings from its hospitals.”

The corporation has 220 tax-exempt subsidiaries and over 125 for-profit subsidiaries.

“Why is this organization charitable?” said a law professor quoted in the article. “They provide health services for the poor, but it’s not their primary mission anymore … Ascension has transformed itself over time to a major big business enterprise. I’m not denying that they do some charitable things, but so does Microsoft-- and they pay taxes.”

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  • Posted by: jimr451 - Feb. 26, 2014 7:36 AM ET USA

    I'm betting that "law professor's" school is also a "non-profit" and has many paying students. I'm not a non-profit specialist, but I think being a non-profit is mostly a function of following the rules in terms of organization, governance, and accounting / finance. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think there's a test for how well the org carries out its mission where the IRS is concerned.

  • Posted by: Ken - Feb. 25, 2014 10:10 PM ET USA

    I agree with the law professor. What is Ascension doing with its $17 billion in assets?

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