"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Community Benefit

The other day one of our physician competitors was on one of the local radio stations doing his weekly infomercial and taking WMHS to task on our community benefit numbers.  In FY 2011, we provided community benefit in the amount of $34 million.  Community Benefit is mandated by law for hospitals and regulated by the Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) for Maryland.  In FY 2010, hospitals in Maryland provided Community Benefit in excess of $1 billion. 

Community Benefit consists of activities performed by hospitals that address community needs, improve population health and enhance disease prevention.  It covers a variety of areas from the amount of Charity Care that a hospital provides to the amount of mission-driven services.  These are the highest dollar areas for WMHS and probably the areas that our physician friend takes issue with.  Our Charity Care was almost $12.5 million.  This category consists of the amount of free care that we provide to patients throughout the year for all services, inpatient and outpatient. 

Our mission-driven services, which amounted to almost $17.5 million, include those services that are needed in our community and WMHS provides but loses money on each service.  They include our urgent care clinics, our hospice program, our hospitalist service, our obstetrical practice, our behavioral health practice and outpatient dialysis program.  Additionally, we provide community health services through support groups, health screenings, health fairs and educational sessions.  We also provide support for health professions education through Allegany College of Maryland and financial contributions to organizations that have a mission which is consistent with WMHS. 

Our Community Benefit reporting closely follows the requirements and guidelines of the HSCRC and exists to support the health care needs of our most vulnerable populations.  We are extremely proud of our Community Benefit activities at WMHS.

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