For Catholic Health Initiatives, community benefit is a planned, organized and measured approach to meeting identified community health needs or increasing access to health care. 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
- Meal programs
- Programs such as Health Hub in Lincoln, NE, which connects uninsured and underserved individuals with health resources or a Student Wellness Center in Grand Island, NE, that provides physical and mental health care for students
- Programs designed to reduce violence
- 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 2013 fiscal year, CHI provided $762 million in community benefit.
- This includes $320 million in charity care (free or reduced-cost services for people who cannot afford to pay).
- This does not include an additional $289 million in the unpaid cost of public programs, Medicare and other indigent care programs (cost of services provided in excess of government reimbursement).
Read our 2014 Community Benefit Report.