"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.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Community Benefit

The Western Maryland Health System's Community Benefit Report for Fiscal Year 2013 was submitted to the State of Maryland on Friday.  This report was shared with our Board of Directors on Thursday and the year-after-year increase in the amount of our community benefit gives us all reason to pause.  Since FY '09, we have increased our giving by 295%.  

For those of you who aren't familiar with the report, it breaks down all of those activities and initiatives that we perform for our region of a charitable nature and allows us to remain a not-for-profit organization.  With the State of Maryland substantially decreasing its programs and services for the poor and disenfranchised since 2008, the responsibility for those with social and health needs in particular has fallen to hospitals across Maryland.  We cannot discharge a patient unless they are going to safe place like one's home, a nursing home, etc.  If a patient has no place to go, the responsibility falls to the hospital to meet their needs until they can be discharged safely.  This certainly makes sense, but most of the time, the financial responsibility falls to the hospital in these cases.  Fortunately, we get to capture the amount of Charitable Care on our community benefit report and for FY'13 it was $17.5 million.

The report's areas of focus are Community Health Services; Health Professions Education; Mission Driven Health Care Services; Financial Contributions; Community Building Activities; Community Benefit Activities; Community Benefit Operations; Charity Care and Medicaid Assessment.  The amount for FY '13 was $47.8 million, an increase of 20% over last year's $40 million.  Our areas of increase included Mission Driven Health Care Services, which allows us to include those services necessary for the community but where we lose money due to a lack of reimbursement.  We also saw an increase in Financial Contributions, which in FY '13 included the difference in the value of the land that we received adjacent to the WMHS campus and the Braddock Campus that was donated for the new Allegany High School.  Other areas included Community Benefit Operations; Charity Care, which grew by another $1.5 million; and the Medicaid Assessment (a tax on hospitals leveled by the State of Maryland).

When one sees the breakdown of what is behind the numbers, the programs, the services, the amount of giving throughout the region and the free care provided, it is remarkable.  As I told the Board of Directors, we have a great deal to be proud of when you look at what we are doing for our community year after year.

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