CHI’s systemwide community benefit report for 2012, “Building Healthy Communities,” is now online. The report features photos and videos from several of the innovative community benefit initiatives supported by CHI organizations, including:
The Health Hub in Lincoln, NE, which connects uninsured and underserved individuals with the health resources they need.
Leaders explain how the Hub enriches lives and relieves pressure on the city’s emergency rooms.
Listen to a patient tell the story of how the Hub helped him.
The Reading Youth Violence Prevention project, which promotes healthy alternatives to the shocking epidemic of violence among school-age children in Reading, PA.
The Student Wellness Center at Grand Island Senior High School, Grand Island, NE. Sue Beaty, NP, explains how the center has provided physical and mental health care for students for 16 years.
Get Healthy Berea, a celebration of health, wellness and sustainability in Berea, KY, that brings families out to learn how they can improve their health, together. Hospital and community leaders talk about how the event helps fill some gaps in the community.
The report also provides a balance sheet specific to community benefit activities, a list of all CHI organizations, "at-a-glance" CHI facts, and a link to CHI's 2012 Annual Report.
CHI’s facilities have a deep commitment to and a long tradition of providing benefit to their communities. Our facilities have always provided care for those in need, regardless of their ability to pay. But the benefits we provide to our communities go beyond helping all who come to the doors of our facilities. We also:
- Reach out into the community to talk with civic leaders, social services, charitable organizations and ordinary citizens.
- Determine what health-related services and programs are most needed.
- Develop ways to meet those needs through services that are free or heavily discounted.
Definition of Community Benefit
Exactly what community benefit is, and how it is quantified, is often not well understood. Here’s a definition from the Catholic Health Association:
Community benefit consists of programs and services designed to improve health in communities and to increase access to health care. Community benefit is integral to the mission of Catholic and other not-for-profit health care organizations, and is the basis of tax exemption.
Community Benefit at CHI
For CHI, community benefit is a planned, organized and measured approach to meeting identified community health needs. Community benefit may serve a specific group of persons who are economically poor, or may serve a broad cross-section of the community. Always, the intent is to address and improve the overall health of the community.
In determining what counts as community benefit, we follow the guidance of the Catholic Health Association. A community benefit must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Generate a low or negative margin.
- Respond to the needs of special populations, such as minorities, frail elderly, poor persons with disabilities, the chronically mentally ill, or persons with AIDS.
- Supply a service or programs that would likely be discontinued if the decision were made on a purely financial basis.
Examples of community benefit includes free or discounted health screenings, smoking cessation programs and meal programs, as well as donations of food, supplies or in-kind services to help people who are poor or underserved.
Community benefit does not include the unpaid cost of providing care to patients who have Medicare coverage, or patient bad debts.
During the 2011 fiscal year, CHI and its facilities provided $715 million in community benefit.
- This includes $249 million in charity care (free or reduced-cost services for people who cannot afford to pay).
- This does not include an additional $394 million in the unpaid cost of Medicare (cost of services provided in excess of government reimbursement).