$143 Million Provided in Community Benefits by HMOs According to Reports Filed With AG Coakley's Office
BOSTON – Six Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) provided more than $143 million in community benefits for Massachusetts residents in Fiscal Year 2011 according to reports published today by Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office.
“HMOs provide important support for health services and people in need through various programs that benefit communities across the Commonwealth,” AG Coakley said. “I applaud the work of these HMOs in demonstrating their continued commitment to the principles of the Community Benefits Program.”
The HMOs that reported community benefits are Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Fallon Community Health Plan, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Health New England, Neighborhood Health Plan, and Tufts Associated Health Maintenance Organization.
The community benefit expenditures reported by the six HMOs include more than $108 million in care for uninsured and underinsured residents who do not have access to affordable health coverage. The HMOs also reported expenditures of $35 million on a range programs to address childhood obesity, reduce health disparities and promote health and wellness in vulnerable populations such as children and adolescents and older adults.
In February 2009, Attorney General Coakley issued revised Community Benefit Guidelines for non-profit, acute care hospitals and 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 enables oversight by the AG’s Office and public scrutiny of non-profit and other health care institutions. The revised Guidelines, which became 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, and the reports were subsequently reviewed by the AGO and published in June. Reports on the community benefits provided by HMOs were due on June 1. This is the second year of reporting 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.