Today, the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health System (OAHHS) released a report showing that in 2016, Oregon hospitals provided $2.19 billion in community benefit to the communities they serve. From training medical professionals, to funding critical health research, to sponsoring wellness events, hospitals increased spending in state-defined community benefit categories other than charity care by $400 million in 2016, as compared with average levels over the previous three years. This increase continues to fulfill a pledge from early 2015, in which hospitals announced they would offset drops in charity care, as a result in Medicaid expansion, by investing in other state-defined community benefit categories. The statewide total of $2.19 billion was a record high.
“We are very proud of Oregon hospitals’ continued community commitment,” said Andy Van Pelt, executive Vice President of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems. “The numbers reflect the profound health needs in our communities that hospitals are addressing. It shows that hospitals continue to go beyond providing high-quality care for the sick and injured and indeed work to the health of communities outside the four walls of the hospital.”
Analysis of the data shows that total community benefit has increased 49 percent from 2010 to 2016 – rising from $1.47 billion in 2010 to $2.19 billion in 2016. Significant subcategory program increases from 2010 to 2016 include:
- Community building, which include programs that provide opportunities to address root causes of health problems, such as poverty, homelessness, and environmental problems, increased by a significant 150 percent;
- Community health improvement, which includes school health-education programs, web-based consumer health information, and worksite health education programs, increased by 10 percent;
- Research increased 12 percent;
- Health professions education increased 8 percent; and
- Subsidized health services increased 9 percent.
In the report based on state data, OAHHS highlights not just the numbers behind the community benefit data but also some examples of current community benefit programs around Oregon.
“These stories show that Oregon’s hospitals are not only continuing to keep their commitment to community benefit spending, but they are going above and beyond in their local communities and are deeply focused on the health needs of the people they serve,” concluded Van Pelt.
In 2007, the Oregon legislature defined community benefit as health care-related services that hospitals provide without the expectation of compensation. It includes but is not limited to such categories as:
- Health services to vulnerable or underserved people
- Financial or in-kind support for public health programs
- Health education, health screenings, and prevention services
- Medical research and health professions education
- Community-building activities such as neighborhood revitalization projects, or workforce development programs
The hospital stories contained in OAHHS’ report highlight the wide range of services that respond to specific, identified health needs of local communities. If you are interested in learning more about community benefit programs at your local hospital, reach out to your hospital directly for more examples like the ones found in the Community Benefit Report.
To learn more about Oregon hospitals’ community benefit activities, visit http://www.oahhs.org/policy/community-benefit.
To learn more about the state reporting program of community benefit, visit