Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association releases 2019 Community Benefit Report
Virginia hospitals and health systems provided nearly $3.3 billion in community support to the Commonwealth in 2017, according to the newly released 2019 Annual Report on Community Benefit from the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association.
The Community Benefit report is an important opportunity to highlight the substantial community contributions, public health and safety investments, and economic impact Virginia’s local hospitals and health systems make each day. These contributions include provision of essential health services to support community well-being, extensive free and discounted care provided to patients without insurance or the means to pay for care, and many other programs that support health care access, critical and often under-funded health services, and promote quality of life. In 2017, community benefit, as defined by the IRS, totaled $1.6 billion. Along with other forms of community support including Medicare losses, taxes paid, and bad debt expenses absorbed by Virginia hospitals, the total benefit to Virginia communities in 2017 exceeded $3.29 billion.
“Hospitals in Virginia are cornerstones in the communities they serve that support the economy by providing good jobs and local investments, and promote public well-being by providing access to vital health services and medical treatment,” said VHHA President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton. “The 2019 Annual Report on Community Benefit highlights a few of the many ways in which community hospitals and health systems serve and support the Commonwealth and its people.”
“In the past year, Virginia’s hospitals and health systems again demonstrated our enduring commitment to the Commonwealth by working with elected leaders to help facilitate a compromise on expanding health care coverage to thousands of uninsured Virginians,” added Mark H. Merrill, the President and CEO of Valley Health System and the Chairman of VHHA’s Board of Directors. “The hospital community did
this by working with policy makers and agreeing to invest millions of dollars to help offset state costs associated with Medicaid expansion. This is just one example of the community benefit hospitals provide in service of Virginia. As a hospital community, we are proud to publish this annual report to share some of the many ways we continue to support the communities we serve.”
In addition to the $3.3 billion in community benefit, Virginia hospitals support more than 125,000 direct jobs with more than $8.5 billion in payroll and benefits, and roughly $40 billion in annual economic impact. Local hospitals in Virginia treat the uninsured, under-insured, those with commercial insurance, and other patients regardless of ability to pay. Hospitals support free clinics, mobile treatment programs, and free health screenings. They provide prescription drug assistance, transportation, and many other programs and initiatives beneficial to the community. Hospitals provide substantial subsidies to clinical services such as trauma centers and neonatal units. They support the education of future nurses, doctors, and other health care providers. And they continue to receive recognition for top performance in patient safety and health care quality. For instance, Virginia was named a top three state in the Fall 2018 Hospital Safety Grade scores from the Leapfrog Group, a national health care patient safety ranking organization. And VHHA earned the “2018 HRET HIIN Quality Award” presented by the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Health Research & Education Trust (HRET). The award recognizes a state hospital association for demonstrating exemplary dedication and leadership in advancing the quality and safety of health care for patients. These accolades come on the heels of Virginia, in 2017, being ranked among the top 10 states for health care quality by the federal government.