Ohio's Public Hospital System: Challenges and Opportunities


  • Sterling Shriber Cleveland Clinic Akron General
  • Palak Rath Cleveland Clinic Akron General




Public hospitals, Ohio, Community benefit


Public hospitals have long been a cornerstone of the American health care system, providing an increased share of care to indigent and historically marginalized populations. Public hospitals have provided an increased share of their revenues as community benefit spending, often taking on added roles of community service and civic consequence. The number of public hospitals has decreased nationally over recent decades, with the forces of hospital system consolidation and increasing technological and medical complexity being contributory. As the architecture of public hospital structure governance differs by state or even municipality, public hospitals have become sensitive to political currents in their respective localities. This article serves as an analysis and commentary on the current state of the public hospital network in Ohio. While Ohio has both state-operated and city or county-operated hospital systems, special attention is given here to the latter, which have been decreasing in number at an alarming rate over recent years. Despite recent challenges, the system harbors substantial potential to both rural and urban communities alike. A call to action, inclusive of civic support and new investment, should be made to bolster Ohio’s public hospital system for the benefit of its communities.






Commentary or Policy