242642 Community Benefit Requirement as a Catalyst for Improving Health Outcomes

Monday, October 31, 2011

Norrell Atkinson, MD , Pediatrics, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC
Rhonique Shields-Harris, MD, MHA , Director of Moblile Health Programs, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC
Ruth Pollard, MS, MBA , Child Health Advocacy Institute, Children's National Medical Center/Child Health Advocacy Institute, Washington, DC
Not-for-profit hospitals, report community benefit activities in exchange for tax-exempt status. With a previously loosely defined requirement, activities reported as community came into question. In 2009, the IRS established strict criteria for defining what fulfills the community benefit requirement (CBR). Failure to comply endangers institutions' tax-exempt status. 43 not-for-profit free-standing children's hospitals in the United States were identified to determine which institutions had published community benefit reports prior to the IRS's required date of reporting community benefit activities, in order to determine which hospitals are currently actively involved with community benefit activities. Furthermore, these reports were examined to determine which institutions have gone beyond standard community involvement and have targeted their community-benefit activities towards improving health outcomes and social well-being in their communities. 25/43 (58.1%) of the free-standing not-for-profit children's hospitals in the United States have readily identifiable community benefit reports available for public's viewing, as identified through hospital's website or inquiry phone calls. Fewer than half of these community benefit reports, though, loosely fit the guidelines for an effective community benefit program ,as defined by The National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions and the Catholic Health Association. Even fewer hospitals have implemented community benefit programs targeted towards improving the health status of their community. A small number of hospitals, however, have done quite a bit to incorporate community benefit into the mission and structure of their institution and can serve as models for how others should evolve. These statistics will likely change with the influence of the IRS' new guidelines and this current data can serve as a frame work for understanding how hospitals have changed their activities based upon this new requirement.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Program planning
Provision of health care to the public
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
1. Define the essential components of a community benefit report 2. Determine the percentage of not-for-profit hospitals with effective community benefit reports

Keywords: Community Benefits, Health Advocacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a pediatric resident who has been involved with research on community benefit with our hospital
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.