Elkridge, Md. – Maryland’s hospitals provided approximately $1.5 billion in community benefits in the past year, the state’s Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) reported today. Community benefits go beyond traditional care provided in the emergency department, operating room, or in a hospital bed. According to HSCRC, that $1.5 billion represents 10 percent of all hospital operating expenses statewide.
This total is about the same as the previous year, when hospitals set the $1.5 billion record. However, this latest achievement is notable because charity care, a component of community benefits, dropped by about $30 million, to $484 million, as more Marylanders began to receive health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The fact that the total did not see a corresponding drop is an indication of hospitals’ continuing investment in the health of their communities. In fiscal year 2004, the first year the data was reported, hospital community benefits totaled $586 million.
Community benefits include:
- Health services for vulnerable or under-served people
- Financial or in-kind support of public health programs, such as management of chronic diseases like asthma and diabetes
- Donations of funds, property, or other resources that contribute to a community priority, such as obesity, substance abuse, or health care services for the homeless
- Health care cost containment activities, like free health education programs that can help people manage their conditions without the need for more costly services
- Health screening and prevention services
“Maryland’s hospitals are working under tight financial restrictions to provide care for those in need,” said Carmela Coyle, President & CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association. “This new data demonstrates hospitals’ continuing commitment to making all our communities healthier.”