A new study says several hospitals throughout the Central Valley, including one right here in Kern County are not doing enough in low-income and minority communities.
Not-for-profit hospitals throughout the nation are exempt from paying billions in taxes annually. And in 2010, that came out to about 3.3 billion in tax exemptions and tax breaks for California hospitals.
"In exchange for these large tax breaks and tax exemptions, non-profit hospitals in California are really required to invest in the health and well-being with the communities they serve," said Kerry Sakimoto of The Greenlining Institute.
As a not-for-profit health service, officials say they should address challenges in low-income communities and communities of color that consistently battle health issues.
But a new study from the Greenlining Institute in Berkeley says 11 not-for-profit hospitals in the Central Valley could be doing more for their communities.
They discovered under-funding and preventative health solutions and a lack of meaningful community engagement.
However, Dignity Health Bakersfield Memorial Hospital says they have done their part to give-back to their community.
In a statement Dignity Health says in the 2015 fiscal year, they provided more than 9 million in community benefits which meets the legal requirements for non-profit hospitals.
While the Greenlining Institute agrees that Dignity Health Bakersfield met overall requirements, the findings suggest there is still room for improvement.
"When you consider the size of the operating expenses when we consider the size of how big these hospital systems are when their only investing 0.49%, we know that they could do much more," said Kerry Sakimoto of The Greenlining Institute.