$753 Million Provided by Non-Profit Hospitals in Community Benefits According to Reports Filed with AG Coakley's Office
First Reports Filed Under Revised Guidelines
Hospitals offer community benefit programs in support of their charitable mission and most hospitals report addressing one of the five statewide priorities identified in the Attorney General's Community Benefit Guidelines. Those statewide priorities include supporting health care reform, chronic disease prevention and management, reducing health disparities, addressing unmet health needs of the uninsured, and promoting wellness of vulnerable populations. The annual hospital reports can be found at www.mass.gov/ago/communitybenefits.
"I applaud the efforts of Massachusetts hospitals in providing significant community benefits in their communities in 2010 and for embracing the goals of accountability and transparency in the revised Community Benefit Guidelines," said Attorney General Coakley. "These community benefit programs have a positive impact on Massachusetts residents who may not otherwise be able to access these health care services and programs."
Sixty-one non-profit acute care hospitals and health care systems in the Commonwealth filed community benefit reports with the Attorney General's Office for fiscal year 2010. In addition, two for-profit hospitals submitted reports. Of the $753 million that non-profit hospitals reported spending on community benefits in 2010, more than $81 million was spent on free or discounted care provided directly to patients. On average, Massachusetts non-profit hospitals expended 3.18% of their total patient care expenses towards community benefits for their residents.
Examples of community benefit programs reported for fiscal year 2010 include:
- Baystate Medical Center's Baystate Brightwood Community School Health Center, located in Springfield's Brightwood Elementary School, is a satellite for the Brightwood Community Health Center. Baystate providers and other area providers collaborate to ensure cohesive health care for school-aged children and the broader community.
- Mercy Medical Center's Health Care For the Homeless Program includes an 18-member clinical team that provides primary care, disease management, health screening and mental health services at 46 shelters, soup kitchens and transitional living centers in Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden Counties, covering over 1,800 square miles.
- Milford Regional Medical Center's www.YourTeen.org Program provides an online educational tool for parents of adolescents and connects parents of adolescents to resources in the Central Massachusetts area. Milford partners with the Juvenile Advocacy Group network to accomplish its goals for the program.
- Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital's Asthma Education Program focuses its resources on asthma education and treatment. After health statistics identified a high rate of asthma in the community, Signature Healthcare launched a targeted campaign community-wide aimed at educating and helping patients manage high risk factors through a proactive and coordinated approach to asthma care.
In February 2009, Attorney General Coakley issued revised Community Benefit Guidelines for non-profit, acute care hospitals and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) with the assistance of an Advisory Task Force made up of representatives from hospitals, health maintenance organizations, community health centers, and consumer advocacy groups. Under the guidelines, hospitals and HMOs submit annual reports to the Attorney General's Office on their community benefit programs and expenditures, which enable both Attorney General oversight and public scrutiny of non-profit health care institutions. The revised Guidelines, effective October 1, 2009, were 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.
Non-profit acute care hospitals were asked to submit their community benefits reports to the Attorney General's Office by April 1, 2011, and the reports were subsequently reviewed by the Office. Reports on the community benefits provided by HMOs were due on June 1, 2011. These HMO FY2010 Reports will be the first HMO reports filed under the revised Guidelines.
The Community Benefits Program is coordinated by Assistant Attorney General Lois Johnson and Mediator/Policy Analyst Merritt Dattel McGowan, with support from Division Chiefs of Attorney General Coakley's Health Care Division and Non-Profits/Public Charities Division.