The Attorney General's Office provides guidance for how non-profit hospitals and health plans should develop and report on the benefits and programs they provide to the public as part of their commitment to the communities they serve. The Attorney General's Community Benefits Guidelines set forth expectations on how hospitals and HMOs should assess the health care needs of their communities, plan programs in concert with community partners, and report those activities to the Attorney General's Office. The reports are publicly available in a web-based database. 

Community Benefits Guidelines

Attorney General Martha Coakley announces revisions to the Attorney General's Community Benefit Guidelines for Non Profit Acute Care Hospitals and Community Benefit Guidelines for Health Maintenance Organizations . These Guidelines took effect in October 2009. View the guidelines:

Community Benefits Frequently Asked Questions pdf format of    Community Benefits Frequently Asked Questions  - Updated 3/19/2014

The current Guidelines were developed with the assistance of an Advisory Task Force created in January 2008 to review of the Guidelines in the context of a changing health care landscape. The Task Force, which included representatives from hospitals, health maintenance organizations, community health centers and consumer advocacy groups, participated in a thoughtful, focused and productive review process that concluded in December 2008.

The Advisory Task Force reached consensus on comprehensive revisions to the Guidelines designed to improve transparency and accountability in community benefit reporting; encourage pre-planning and community involvement; and align hospital and HMO community benefit activities with statewide health priorities. In particular, the revised Guidelines:

  • encourage community input in all phases of plan development;
  • require goal setting and measurement for all community benefit programs;
  • require that community benefit programs be based on a community health needs assessment and focus on a target population identified at the beginning of the plan year;
  • streamline and standardize reporting;
  • address medical debt by encouraging hospitals to adopt fair medical debt collection practices; and
  • encourage hospitals and HMOs to address the statewide health priorities of supporting health care reform; reducing health disparities; improving chronic disease management; and promoting wellness in vulnerable populations.