The Florida Hospital Association (FHA) released its 2015 Community Benefit Report, which highlights member hospitals’ great work, beyond direct hospital care, to improve the health and well-being of their communities. In 2014, hospitals contributed more than $4.2 billion in benefits to their communities, provided inpatient care for 2.7 million people and treated 9.5 million patients in emergency rooms.
The community benefits that Florida’s hospitals and health systems provide are unique to the needs of each community, and include free or discounted care, underpayments from government programs, education for health care professionals and medical research. They also include activities that improve a community’s health, such as free health screenings and health fairs, and community building activities that invest in local socio-economic development and strengthen community partnerships.
- Charity care provided by FHA member hospitals totaled more than $1.5 billion in costs, representing the largest component of community benefits.
- Medicaid and other means-tested government programs’ community benefit totaled more than $1.7 billion.
- FHA member hospitals contributed more than $521 million to health professionals’ education, workforce development and research.
- Community health improvement benefits provided by FHA member hospitals reached more than $391 million in 2014.
- FHA member hospitals’ community building activities totaled more than $24 million.
“Florida hospitals are cornerstones of strong, healthy communities. Every day, our caregivers save lives, restore health and provide a wide array of critical services,” said Bruce Rueben, FHA president. “We are delighted to share the great work our hospital teams do to benefit local communities and our state as a whole.”
Florida hospitals also play a vital role in helping people gain access to health care coverage. As of April 1, 2015, Florida hospitals that tracked data reported helping more than 39,000 individuals obtain health plan coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace or through the Medicaid program.
Florida hospitals also serve as a stable, safe place when disaster strikes local communities. Each year, Florida hospitals spend an estimated $22.4 million to ensure they are prepared and ready to respond to emergencies of all types, including hurricanes, violence, accidents or outbreaks of diseases such as Ebola. In 2014, Florida hospitals invested approximately $17 million to prepare for the possibility that a suspected Ebola patient required treatment at the hospital.
The 2015 Community Benefit Report also highlights 11 hospitals and programs that fully demonstrate how hospitals go beyond their walls to improve lives and strengthen communities.
Every year, Florida hospitals work with stakeholders and community partners to identify, prioritize and address critical health care needs in their local community through regular community needs health assessments. This collaboration among local partners has led to stronger communities with better health outcomes.