Health Care Leaders Report Fewer Barriers to Development of Hospital Community Benefit Programs

More Expansion Plans Reported By Attendees Of The Catholic Health

Association/VHA Inc. Community Benefit Conference

Jul 21, 2008, 01:00 ET from Catholic Health Association of the United States

    WASHINGTON, July 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Not-for-profit hospitals
 are continuing to expand and strengthen their support of community benefit
 programs. Attendees of a recent community benefit conference reported that
 support from executive leadership has grown substantially since the last
 conference in 2006.
     This finding is one of many from a survey conducted in conjunction with
 the "Making an Impact: Evidence-Based Community Benefit" conference
 sponsored by the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA) and
 VHA Inc., in cooperation with the School of Public Health at Saint Louis
 University. The conference, the fourth such event, is held every two years
 to focus on sharing ideas and learnings with regard to components of
 community benefit programming.
     "We are extremely encouraged to learn that executive leadership is more
 focused than ever on strengthening their hospital's community benefit
 programming," said Julie Trocchio, CHA senior director, continuing care
 ministries. "Each year we see increasingly greater support from hospital
     "In this time of increased scrutiny of community benefit reporting,
 these survey results demonstrate our members' ongoing commitment to taking
 their community-focused missions seriously," noted Linda DeWolf, vice
 president at VHA.
     Survey respondents reported adding new staff (21 percent), new
 partnerships (25 percent) and new programs (24 percent) in the past year to
 support community benefit efforts.
     In addition to these improvements, when asked "what if anything is
 different in your organization's community benefit work within the past
 year," more than a third of respondents (36 percent) answered "additional
 attention from senior executives."
     "The results clearly demonstrate that CHA and VHA members' community
 benefit programs continue to increase staff, programs and partnerships,"
 Trocchio said. "The survey completed by a majority of the more than 200
 meeting attendees also shows that community benefit programs are receiving
 greater support from boards and executive leadership, as well as more
 financial resources."
     Community benefit programs continue to report an increase in
 programming, with almost half (47 percent) citing an increase "by any
 measure: amount spent, persons served, number of programs" over the past
 three years. Optimism about community benefit programs' future expansion
 remained high as well, with 46 percent of respondents expecting an increase
 in their community benefit program within the next three years. None of the
 respondents reported an anticipated decrease in their community benefit
     Nearly half of the respondents (48 percent) reported community benefit
 programs that offer increased access to care "have the greatest impact in
 [their] community." Programs that offer health education or health
 promotion also ranked high, with 28 percent of respondents reporting those
 programs as having the greatest impact.
     VHA Inc., based in Irving, Texas, is a national health care alliance
 that provides industry-leading supply chain management services and
 supports the formation of regional and national networks to help members
 improve their clinical and economic performance. With 16 offices across the
 U.S., VHA has a track record of proven results in serving more than 1,400
 not-for-profit hospitals and more than 21,000 non-acute care organizations
     The Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), founded in
 1915, supports the Catholic health ministry's pursuit of the strategic
 directions of mission, ethics, and advocacy. As the nation's largest group
 of not-for-profit sponsors, systems, and facilities, the ministry is
 committed to improving the health status of communities and creating
 quality and compassionate health care that works for everyone. For more
 information, visit the CHA website at

SOURCE Catholic Health Association of the United States