Community Benefit Reporting: What it's Not Might Surprise You

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media , June 24, 2009

It's not just about charity care
If you've looked at some of the reports in the media about community benefit reporting, you've likely noticed that reporters tend to focus on charity care. It's the marketer's job to make sure they see the whole picture.

"Community benefit includes charity care and other means-tested program shortfalls but also refers to a wide range of activities needed to improve or sustain good health for community residents," Matheny writes.

So what is community benefit? Well, the answer to that could fill a whole book (and, in fact, it has filled a whole book).

But for starters, examples of community benefit include:

  • improving access to health services
  • reducing geographic, financial, or cultural barriers to health services
  • enhancing public health
  • advancing general knowledge
  • helping train future healthcare professionals
  • conducting research
  • maintaining negative margin inpatient service lines to prevent gaps in service
  • supporting community organizations

Editor's note: You can pre-order a copy of Patsy Matheney's new book, A Marketer's Guide to Community Benefit Reporting and IRS Form 990H on our Website.

Note: You can sign up to receive HealthLeaders Media Marketing, a free weekly e-newsletter that will guide you through the complex and constantly-changing field of healthcare marketing.

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