In this article we are going to list the 15 largest hospitals and health systems in America. Click to skip ahead and jump to the 10 largest hospitals and health systems in America.
The United States has often portrayed itself to be the leader of the free world, protector of the oppressed, a country where anyone can come and if they just work hard enough and earn an honest living, he will move up in the world and earn more richest than many nations combined. However, behind all the glamor and glitz lies a dark underbelly. America has many problems, be it sexism, racism, homophobia, discrimination against immigrants, classism and major wealth disparity, and one of the biggest issues that the country faces is its healthcare, or lack thereof. America tends to hold a unique position in the developed world, being one of the most advanced economies in the world and yet not even having universal healthcare. Even its neighbor and often bitter rival Cuba has a healthcare that is miles better than the US, even though the country is behind the US in every other way.
So how exactly did it come to be that the biggest, most powerful country in the world, as evidenced by the most powerful militaries in the world in 2020 which the US easily tops, doesn’t afford its citizens a basic right to health? Well, the story is somewhat weird while for others it may just be a typical example of the US being US. Initially, hospitals and doctors were not regulated. This is back in the 19th century, where anyone could basically one day get the urge to be a doctor and instead of having to undergo rigorous studies and practice, they could just start operating on people who were only too happy to let them. Snake oil was the name of the game back then, and due to the lack of regulations, healthcare was extremely cheap (about $100 a year) and not very effective. However, over the last 200 years, healthcare not just in the US but in the world has improved significantly as techniques were improved, breakthroughs were made and lives were saved and improved. This saw extremely cheap healthcare being offered to teachers for 50 cents a month in Dallas, which was soon copied by most hospitals across the country who offered such plans to worker groups.
Then came World War II, after which the US emerged as a victor, which saw a boom in the economy which led to employers having to complete for employees, and in lieu of good salaries due to FDR freezing wages, these companies would offer cheap healthcare, which was also exempt from tax by the IRS. Since employer based healthcare covered two thirds of the population, any plans for universal healthcare, which to be fair earlier presidents did try to go for, but was blocked by the businesses, who would have to offer actual decent wages if universal healthcare became a thing and that was that.
Now here’s the kicker: if you live in the United States or if you’ve read about their healthcare, you’ll know about insane the margins on every and anything related to healthcare. You could go in for routine surgery and be out for tens of thousands of dollars if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is often actually cheaper to fly to another country, vacation there, have the surgery done and return than it is to get the same surgery in the US. The aforementioned employer based healthcare is the reason behind that. These companies have insurance for their employees and the hospitals and insurance companies, both of which have a lot of power, haggle around the prices and reach a compromise which leaves no one happy, but at least those with health insurance get to go home without a bill worth several months of their salary. on the other hand, those with no insurance have no power to fight these charges, and are often at the mercy of hospitals. It is incredible to think this is the state of affairs in the one of the most developed countries in the world, but that is the bare truth of it. Even insurance costs can vary significantly and especially by state, which is why you might want to take a look at the 10 states with the most expensive health insurance premiums and the 10 states with the cheapest health insurance.
The US is also home to some of the biggest biotech companies in the world, which are also some of the biggest pharma companies in the world. These companies earn tens of billions of dollars in revenue each year, while their income is also in the billions. On the other hand, we also have some of the largest hospitals and health systems in the US. These health care systems have hundreds of thousands of registered or affiliated nurses and physicians, and have tens of millions of patient encounters each years. These health care systems are also responsible for hundreds of hospitals, which include some of the biggest hospitals in the US which in turn have thousands of beds each! The biggest hospital in the US is Barnes-Jewish Hospital which has 1,638 beds and is part of BJC HealthCare, while the second biggest hospital Yale New Haven has more than 1,500 beds and sees more than 1.5 million patients alone annually. The numbers and data for our ranking is taken from the Becker Hospital Review, which conducts the most in depth analysis of this kind each year. So let’s take a deeper, more insightful look into these hospitals and health systems, responsible for saving and helping millions of people across the country, starting with number 15:
15. Atrium Health
Number of hospitals: 36
Atrium Health has around 65,000 employees and earned around $9.9 billion in revenue in 2019.