Hill-Burton Act

What is the Hill-Burton Act?

Passed in 1946, the Hill-Burton Act, also known as the Hospital Survey and Construction Act, provides financial assistance to certain types of public and nonprofit healthcare facilities assuming certain criteria are met. Recipients of funds from the Hill-Burton Act include general and special hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation clinics. Criteria for receiving funds generally revolve around guaranteeing to serve the public in certain ways. For example, recipients must provide care in a non-discriminatory manner, provide emergency treatment for local individuals within the facility’s service area who cannot afford services, and accept Medicare and Medicaid unless the recipient is ineligible to participate in these programs. A full list of criteria can be found on the Human and Health Services website.

Why is the Hill-Burton Act important in healthcare?

In the 1980s and 1990s, the Hill-Burton Act provided more than $6 billion to recipients, which indirectly supported the needs of countless patients who were treated by recipients. Although the program stopped receiving funds in 1997 and, therefore, no longer provides funds to recipients, the act set a helpful precedent in ensuring different types of facilities make healthcare more accessible to all. Roughly 130 former recipients across the country still provide free or reduced-cost services as a result of the Hill-Burton Act. The full list of these former recipients still providing free or reduced-cost services can be found on the Health Resources & Services Administration website.