Leaders of some not-for-profit hospital systems, including several in Ohio, are beginning to make the case for greater investment in broad public health and community improvement programs (Source: “Hospitals broaden scope of community-benefit work,” Modern Healthcare, Nov. 25, 2015).
Their programs include Ascension's development of a mixed-use housing, retail and community space in Baltimore and Toledo, and Ohio-based ProMedica's partnership with the Alliance to End Hunger to host a hunger symposium in Washington.
Such efforts are starting to dovetail with those of philanthropic foundations and community and social service organizations. “We keep backing up into the healthcare world,” said David Erickson, director of the Center for Community Development Investments at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. “We see (hospitals) as potential partners.”
While health system leaders cite their not-for-profit and/or religious missions to help their communities as the reason for their public health push, they also recognize that their systems face growing pressure to justify their tax-exempt status as their charity-care burden shrinks under the Affordable Care Act, particularly in states that have expanded Medicaid under the law.