N.J. Hospitals Provide Nearly $2.6 Billion in Community Benefits

Mar 06, 2014, 11:55 ET from New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA)

PRINCETON, N.J., March 6, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New Jersey hospitals provided $2.58 billion in added benefits to their communities in 2012 above and beyond the healthcare services they provided to their patients, according to a new report from the New Jersey Hospital Association.

The total includes the value of free and discounted care for the poor, uninsured and senior citizens; community health offerings like immunization clinics and other wellness programs; education for future healthcare professionals; medical research; and a wide array of additional community programs. The results are reported in the new NJHA report, New Jersey Hospitals: Community Benefit Report 2013.

"Hospitals' contributions – in both economic and community benefits – make them an essential part of the Garden State's well-being. It is a responsibility and commitment that they proudly embrace," said NJHA President and CEO Betsy Ryan.

The report also features community programs that were honored in the 2014 Community Outreach Awards presented in January by NJHA's affiliate, the Health Research and Educational Trust of New Jersey.  

Data for the report was collected from 57 of the state's 73 acute care hospitals through a rigorous survey process. Most of the information was collected electronically through data collection software; other hospitals reported on a manual survey form. NJHA used standardized reporting categories and definitions from the Catholic Healthcare Association and the Veterans Health Administration, which are widely used by hospitals across the country.

The $2.58 billion in community benefits tallied in the report include:

  • $2 billion in unpaid costs of patient care, which includes $623 million in unreimbursed charity care services for the working poor, $290 million in unpaid care for Medicare patients and $111 million in unpaid care for Medicaid patients. This amount also includes $1 billion in uncollectable costs for treatment, also known as bad debt.
  • $66 million in community health improvement services, which include programs such as health fairs, health screenings and immunization clinics. About 6,105 programs were held statewide, providing more than 14 million unique "personal encounters" between hospitals and community members.
  • $124 million in health professions education, which includes education, internships, residency programs, scholarships and other programs to prepare the next generation of physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals. Nearly 124,000 current and future healthcare workers were served in these programs.
  • $366 million in other community services and programs, many of which go beyond the traditional definition of "healthcare programs." Hospitals provided over 1,300 such programs in 2012, providing 2.8 million unique "personal encounters."

The full report is available in NJHA's online pressroom at www.njha.com/pressroom under Resources for Reporters. The full report can be viewed and downloaded at www.njha.com/media/300038/2013CommunityBenefitReport.pdf.

SOURCE New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA)