Question: When a patient is no longer capable of decision making, the hospital must hire an attorney to petition the court for appointment of a guardian. This often happens to impoverished patients and is necessary for discharge to a long term care facility. Should these legal costs be reported as community benefit?
Recommendation: We recommend not reporting the cost of applying for guardianship as community benefit. This is a cost borne by all hospitals, is a cost of doing business, and does not distinguish a hospital as a charitable organization.