Hospital community benefits reports out

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The Office of Health Care Advocate has released their community benefits report on what hospitals are providing to residents of their communities to improve health, not just the health of their patients. Under state statute, uncompensated care does not qualify as a community benefit. The data is self-reported and there are very likely differences in definitions, but some interesting comparisons can be made. For example, Lawrence & Memorial is reporting spending over $31 million in 2007 on community benefits, 127 times the $250,000 reported by Hartford Hospital. At that rate, L&M is spending 12% of their revenue on community benefits. Hospital reports of the number of people served by programs varied from zero to 337,379. It is interesting however to scroll through the services listed in the data Appendix to see which hospitals report programs in specific areas such as mental health, substance abuse, hypertension screening, or physical exams for adults. Five hospitals report that they are not working with their local health departments to reduce the transmission of infectious disease in the community. Only Yale-New Haven and Bridgeport report participating in needle exchange programs. Fascinating stuff.
Ellen Andrews