Report: Billion-dollar Valley Children’s Hospital skimps on charity care

Another report points to perks generated from the hospital’s controversial naming rights deal for Fresno State’s Bulldog Stadium.

Valley Children’s Hospital lags behind other children’s hospitals in contributing to the state’s community benefit fund compared to the other large children’s hospitals in California. 

Additionally, the hospital’s naming rights deal for Fresno State’s football stadium remains a flash point in the community. 


The backstory: Nonprofit hospitals are required by federal and state law to provide some sort of charity in the form of community benefit funds to maintain their tax-exempt status. 

  • Community benefit funds include charity care, unpaid costs of Medi-Cal and Medicare, education, research and other non-billed activities such as health education and community health improvement. 

By the numbers: In Fiscal Year 2022, Valley Children’s reported $16.9 million in total quantifiable community benefit, which comes to two percent of total hospital expenses. 

  • The previous year, 2021, was the hospital’s largest contribution in the last five years, as reported on the federal tax returns on Form 990. Valley Children’s reported $79.9 million in community benefit – 11.6 percent of its expenses. The majority of community benefit came from $64.8 million in unpaid costs of Medi-Cal. 
  • Valley Children’s had 1.9 percent of its expenses go to the community benefit fund in 2020 at $12.6 million, while 2019 was at 3.2 percent at $23 million and 2018 was at 7.2 percent at $45.9 million. 

The big picture: Valley Children’s lags behind in its community benefit payments when compared to Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Children’s Hospital of Orange County and Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. 

  • Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles contributed over $440 million in community benefits in 2022, coming to over 30 percent of its expenses. 
  • That same year, Children’s Hospital of Orange County reported $143.1 million in community benefits – 13.7 percent of its expenses, and Rady Children’s Hospital reported $85.6 million, which comes to 6.4 percent of expenses. 
  • Even in 2021, when Valley Children’s posted a community benefit totalling 11.6 percent of its expenses, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and Children’s Hospital of Orange County still outpaced the hospital at 31.7 percent and 17.1 percent. Rady Children’s Hospital was at 6.2 percent. 

Stadium deal: While Valley Children’s is lacking with its community benefit compared to other children’s hospitals, CEO Todd Suntrapak is raking in the benefits from the hospital’s $10 million naming rights deal with Fresno State for the former Bulldog Stadium. 

  • According to a report from McClatchy, Valley Children’s gets four seats on the team plane for away games, as well as four tickets in a “best available” location. 
  • Valley Children’s also utilizes the stadium’s skybox – formerly belonging to Fresno State President Saul Jimenez-Sandoval – with $1,500 in catering, along with a premium tailgating location.
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