Data sources

The primary data source for the Community Benefit Insight tool is IRS Form 990. Additional data sources are used to confirm nonprofit hospital status and provide contextual information about each hospital or health system. This supplemental information also allows for hospital comparisons. Data sources include:

Data acquisition and matching

The steps for acquiring and matching relevant hospital data are as follows:

Data release schedule

The majority of IRS Form 990 returns from tax exempt organizations which operate hospitals are available 16 months after the end of the organization’s tax period. However, these organizations can select their own tax reporting period. For example, a 2016 tax reporting year may start late in calendar year 2016 and extend well into calendar year 2017. Therefore, the availability of returns can vary significantly across all organizations.

We have found in the fall, approximately 50% of returns are available for the second previous year. For example, in the fall of 2018, approximately 50% of tax year 2016 records were available. Additionally we see the majority of returns available in the following spring for the same tax year. In other words, in spring 2019, the majority of tax year 2016 returns were available.

Following these patterns, CBI is updated in the fall and spring of each year with records for the second previous tax year. Additionally, any late arriving records from prior tax years are also processed and added during these update periods.

Data Availability

Tax Year # Tax Reporting Entities
2010 2,327
2011 2,306
2012 2,303
2013 2,283
2014 2,228
2015 2,149
2016 2,101
2017 2,085
2018 1,914