Provision of Community Benefits by Tax-Exempt U.S. Hospitals

Center for Health Policy and Healthcare Research, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
New England Journal of Medicine (Impact Factor: 55.87). 04/2013; 368(16):1519-27. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsa1210239
Source: PubMed


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires tax-exempt hospitals to conduct assessments of community needs and address identified needs. Most tax-exempt hospitals will need to meet this requirement by the end of 2013.
We conducted a national study of the level and pattern of community benefits that tax-exempt hospitals provide. The study comprised more than 1800 tax-exempt hospitals, approximately two thirds of all such institutions. We used reports that hospitals filed with the Internal Revenue Service for fiscal year 2009 that provide expenditures for seven types of community benefits. We combined these reports with other data to examine whether institutional, community, and market characteristics are associated with the provision of community benefits by hospitals.
Tax-exempt hospitals spent 7.5% of their operating expenses on community benefits during fiscal year 2009. More than 85% of these expenditures were devoted to charity care and other patient care services. Of the remaining community-benefit expenditures, approximately 5% were devoted to community health improvements that hospitals undertook directly. The rest went to education in health professions, research, and contributions to community groups. The level of benefits provided varied widely among the hospitals (hospitals in the top decile devoted approximately 20% of operating expenses to community benefits; hospitals in the bottom decile devoted approximately 1%). This variation was not accounted for by indicators of community need.
In 2009, tax-exempt hospitals varied markedly in the level of community benefits provided, with most of their benefit-related expenditures allocated to patient care services. Little was spent on community health improvement.

21 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: From the perspective of academic medical centers (AMCs), community engagement is a collaborative process of working toward mutually defined goals to improve the community's health, and involves partnerships between AMCs, individuals, and entities representing the surrounding community. AMCs increasingly recognize the importance of community engagement, and recent programs such as Prevention Research Centers and Clinical and Translational Science Awards have highlighted community engagement activities. However, there is no standard or accepted metric for evaluating AMCs' performance and impact of community engagement activities.In this article, the authors present a framework for evaluating AMCs' community engagement activities. The framework includes broad goals and specific activities within each goal, wherein goals and activities are evaluated using a health services research framework consisting of structure, process, and outcome criteria. To illustrate how to use this community engagement evaluation framework, the authors present specific community engagement goals and activities of the University of Rochester Medical Center to (1) improve the health of the community served by the AMC; (2) increase the AMC's capacity for community engagement; and (3) increase generalizable knowledge and practices in community engagement and public health.Using a structure-process-outcomes framework, a multidisciplinary team should regularly evaluate an AMC's community engagement program with the purpose of measurably improving the performance of the AMC and the health of its surrounding community.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2014 · Academic medicine: journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: After implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) how will tax-exempt hospitals adjust their community benefit programs to maintain their non-profit status? This literature review categorized existing hospital-based community benefit programs by reviewing published articles that met the following inclusion criteria: affiliated or funded by a hospital; described the program design; focused on community benefit or outreach; evaluated program outcomes; located within the United States. Of 4,917 original citations, we reviewed 265 full-text articles. One hundred and six (106) programs met all inclusion criteria and were used to develop a hospital-based community benefit program taxonomy. Results indicate that programs to enhance patient care, clinic-based programs and programs with a community partner make up the majority of community benefit programs (25%, 28% and 31%, respectively). Few programs were rigorously evaluated or provide evidence of program impact. Hospitals should work with public health professionals to design, implement, and evaluate their community benefit programs.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The initial analysis of the revised Internal Revenue Service Schedule H community benefit report revealed that only about 5% of these dollars are allocated for community health improvement activities. These results have prompted suggestions for improved community health via community benefit reform, given the poor performance of the US population health system. However, if such a reform were enacted, it would have differential impacts across states due to variation in nonprofit hospitals, expenditures, and community benefit allocations. We model this variation, indicating that the range in per capita benefit across states would approximately range from $46 to $309. This variation should be taken into account as community benefit reform is considered.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Journal of public health management and practice: JPHMP
Show more