KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Recently, the Michigan Health & Hospital Association released the MHA 2008 Hospital Community Benefits Report. The report demonstrates how Michigan’s nonprofit hospitals go beyond the delivery of essential healthcare services to improve Michigan residents’ health and quality of life, regardless of their ability to pay for these services.
In Kalamazoo County, Bronson Methodist Hospital reported $83.1 million in uncompensated care and services during 2007, an increase of $21.5 million over the previous year.
This community benefit figure follows MHA’s reporting guidelines and includes costs absorbed by the hospital when payments do not cover the full costs of direct patient care (charity care, bad debt, and payment shortfalls from Medicaid, Medicare and other government programs), plus the costs of outreach programs and health education to meet community needs. Community benefits are meant to improve the overall health status of the community and increase access to healthcare services. Measuring and reporting them annually is a means for nonprofit hospitals to document how they are meeting community needs, as well as the value they return in lieu of paying taxes.
Bronson’s value to the community includes serving the largest percentage of Medicaid patients of any hospital in the state outside southeast Michigan. This is directly related to its services for women and children. Bronson is the only hospital in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek still operating an inpatient pediatrics unit and is the only full service children’s hospital in southwest Michigan. It is also the only high-risk pregnancy center and largest birthing center in the region. One out of every five patients receiving care at Bronson is covered by Medicaid. In fact, it is the payment source for 17 percent of all emergency care services; 38 percent of obstetrics; 53 percent of pediatrics; and 62 percent of neonatal intensive care.
More than half of the payments for all services provided at Bronson Methodist Hospital come from Medicaid (19 percent) and Medicare (34 percent) ─ government programs that pay only 36 cents and 40 cents, respectively, on the dollar.
Despite payment shortfalls, Bronson has been able to maintain an adequate bottom line necessary for continued reinvestment in community benefits, programs, services and facilities. Years of focus on efficiency and performance improvement, including implementing Baldrige criteria, have helped. Local ownership, governance and management ensure that Bronson continues to give back to the community and provide services to all people, regardless of ability to pay. With its downtown Kalamazoo location, the hospital also makes sure that essential medical services are physically accessible to all, including a growing percentage of indigent patients many of whom lack transportation.
Bronson President & CEO Frank Sardone says, “Commitment to the community and stewardship of resources are two of Bronson’s core values. Our staff has become skilled at process improvement, reducing costs and achieving efficiencies so that we can continue to have an operating margin to reinvest in the medical services that people need, and all too often can not afford on their own. By reporting out on Bronson’s annual investment in community benefits, we convey our accountability to the people of southwest Michigan and dedication to doing our fair share to help them in times of need.”
Statewide, MHA reports that Michigan’s nonprofit community hospitals provided nearly $2.6 billion in community benefits in 2007. The complete report is available at mha.org.
BRONSON’S CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE COMMUNITY 2007
Charity Care (non-reimbursed cost for providing free or discounted care
Medicaid Subsidized Healthcare Services (difference between actual costs to deliver care and government reimbursement)
Medicare Subsidized Healthcare Services (difference between actual costs to deliver care and government reimbursement)
Health Professional Education and Training (actual costs of providing health education and training)
Community Outreach and Leadership (human, financial and in-kind support to agencies and programs to improve community health status)
Bad Debt (actual cost of services rendered to non insured not paying a bill and non-poor insured not paying a co-pay or deductible)
Total Net Value based on costs
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