A statewide survey by IHA shows Iowa hospitals provided community benefits in 2011 valued at more than $1.4 billion, including nearly $600 million in charity care.
Community benefits are activities designed to improve health status and provide greater access to health care. Along with uncompensated care (which is made up of both charity care and bad debt), community benefits include such services and programs as health screenings, support groups, counseling, immunizations, nutritional services and transportation programs. The total value of these services, as reported in the survey, was nearly $148 million.
Total uncompensated care in 2011, including charity care and bad debt, was valued at more than $950 million, an increase of $100 million (11.8 percent) over 2010.
All 118 of Iowa’s community hospitals participated in the survey.
The programs and services accounted for in the survey were implemented in direct response to the needs of individual communities as well as entire counties and regions. Many of these programs and services simply would not exist without hospital support and leadership, said IHA President and CEO Kirk Norris.
But the ability of Iowa hospitals to respond to such needs is being hindered by the ongoing economic downturn as well as by huge losses inflicted upon hospitals by Medicare and Medicaid, totaling more than $274 million (a 5.8 percent increase over last year’s report). More than 60 percent of all hospital revenue in Iowa comes from Medicare and Medicaid. Hospitals serving small, rural communities and counties are particularly dependent on the programs.
Iowa hospitals continue implement strategies that increase value to their patients and communities by offering high-quality care to individuals, addressing the health needs of identified populations and implementing process improvements that bend the cost curve. By seeking out ways to raise quality, reduce waste and increase safety, Iowa hospitals have become value leaders, as shown in multiple studies by the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care and the Commonwealth Fund.
More information about Iowa hospital community benefits, as well as other hospital quality, safety, economic and utilization data, is available at IHA’s health care consumer website, www.iowahospitalfacts.com.