Davis County Hospital provided $2,197,224 in community benefits to Davis County, according to a recently completed assessment of those programs and services. That amount, based on 2017 figures, includes $706,818 in uncompensated care and $1,490,406 in free or discounted community benefits that Davis County Hospital specifically implemented to help Davis County residents.
Community benefits are activities designed to improve health status and increase access to health care. Along with uncompensated care (which includes both charity care and bad debt), community benefits include such services and programs as health screenings, support groups, counseling, immunizations, nutritional services and transportation programs.
The results for Davis County Hospital are included in a statewide report by the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) that shows Iowa hospitals provided community benefits in 2017 valued at more than $880 million, including more than $224 million in charity care.
“This data demonstrates Davis County Hospital’s commitment to making our community healthier,” stated Sue Pankey, Chief Nursing Officer. “We will continue to provide healthcare services to our community to help those who need it and to ensure that we are working towards improved health and access to care in Davis County.”
The programs and services accounted for in the survey were implemented in direct response to the needs of individual communities as well as entire counties and regions. Many of these programs and services simply would not exist without hospital support and leadership, said IHA President and CEO Kirk Norris.
Uncompensated care (which is made up of both charity care and bad debt) also plays a role in overall community benefit for services provided by hospitals. Total uncompensated care in 2017 was valued at $502 million. The survey also showed total Medicare and Medicaid losses (at cost) of $226 million.
More patients have been able to obtain services due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but many of the plans have high deductibles and as patients have services, we see an increase in Charity Care and Bad Debt expense. The ACA changes has provided insurance to thousands of individuals who are now able to seek health care.
Davis County Hospital has experienced an increase in Charity Care and Bad Debt expense largely due to changes in healthcare insurance plans,” commented Kendra Warning, Chief Financial Officer. “As insurance premiums increase, patients are electing plans with higher deductibles to lower premiums but increases the patient’s out-of-pocket expense for services. We had a 15% increase in gross patient revenue between fiscal year 2016 and fiscal year 2017, which also contributed to the increase in Charity Care and Bad Debt expense.”
Iowa hospitals, which employ more than 74,000 people, continue implement strategies that increase value to their patients and communities by offering high-quality care to individuals, addressing the health needs of communities and implementing process improvements that bend the cost curve. By seeking out ways to raise quality, reduce waste and increase safety, Iowa hospitals have become value leaders, as shown in multiple studies by the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, the Commonwealth Fund and others.
These efforts, along with IHA’s ongoing advocacy to create fairer payment methodologies from Medicare and Medicaid, help ensure the financial stability of hospitals, making it possible for them to provide the services and programs most needed by their communities.