5190.0: Wednesday, November 15, 2000 - 3:35 PM

Abstract #9401

Community benefit program: Formalizing a plan to care for the community

Lisa Gaarde Hartsock, MPH, Community Health Services, FirstHealth of the Carolinas, 155 Memorial Dr, PO Box 3000, Pinehurst, NC 28374, (910) 215-1922, lhartsock@firsthealth.org

All not-for-profit hospitals and health systems provide community benefit to justify their tax-exempt status and because it is an appropriate, compassionate philosophy. Our Community Benefit Program is central to the mission of our organization. We support initiatives because it is the right thing to do. However, through our efforts we have learned that investing in the communities we serve provides not only an enhancement of health status, facilitation of access to care and enhanced patient and staff morale, but in addition, significant business opportunities. This is especially crucial in a turbulent financial time for healthcare, as well as in an era when state officials are more closely examining the tax-exempt status of not-for-profit healthcare systems. Discussion focuses on developing a plan or replicating key elements to include guiding principles, such as sustainability and maintaining individual dignity, identifying beneficiary populations to include at-risk groups as well as the community-at-large, and broad service categories from non-traditional healthcare delivery sites, economic development to advocacy for policy change. The business case for community investment is demonstrated through high employee satisfaction rates, new source of business and increased revenue, higher consumer preference and strengthened appeal as a grant recipient. Lessons learned include how to develop buy-in for a broad-based plan from administration, employees, board members and those in the community; creating organizational policies that support effort; successful funding strategies; and, challenges of knowing when to take the lead on a community need and when to fall back to support other organizations.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant in this session wil be able to: 1. Describe the elements of a formalized community benefit plan, communication tools for dissemination and marketplace policies to support effort. 2. Identify key decisionmakers and leaders to leaverage support and participation in the implementation of a program. 3. Recognize and apply the data and information available to create the business case for investing in the community

Keywords: Community Outreach, Access and Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I have a significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
Relationship: FirstHealth of the Carolinas, Inc. -- employment

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA