Virginia’s local hospitals and health systems continue to make substantial health and economic contributions throughout the Commonwealth, according to the 2017 Annual Report on Community Benefit provided by Virginia hospitals. The latest report covers data from 2015 when community benefit provided by local hospitals continued a consistent trend of growth over the previous year.
Community benefit support includes financial assistance, Medicaid losses, subsidized health services provided, and community programs supported by Virginia hospitals. In 2015, community benefit as defined by the Internal Revenue Service totaled $1.43 billion. 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 2015 was nearly $2.92 billion.
In addition to their role as providers of essential health services, local hospitals and health systems are economic cornerstones in their communities, employing 125,674 people, generating nearly $40 billion in economic activity, and supporting local businesses and vendors. However, those benefits are at risk due to health care mandates and health care policy uncertainty in Washington. Despite challenges, hospitals remain committed to serving community medical needs. Hospitals treat the uninsured, under-insured, and those with commercial insurance. 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. And they support the education of future nurses, doctors, and other health care providers. Considering all our hospitals do, it is important to find comprehensive solutions that safeguard the health care network for the good of all Virginians.
The 2017 Community Benefit Annual Report is attached to this message. Community benefit data going back to 2008 can be reviewed at this link. And local hospital stories exemplifying 2015 community benefit contributions can be viewed through this link.