August 2019 Community Benefit Update

We would like to share the following community benefit news and resources with you. Please visit for access to all of CHA's updates and resources on community benefit.

CHA Statement on Mass Shootings in Texas and Ohio
Catholic hospitals, like other health care providers in the U.S., see first-hand the suffering that gun violence inflicts on our society. We join in grieving with and praying for those whose loved ones were victims of the mass shootings this past weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

CHA believes the epidemic of gun violence is a critical public safety issue and moral imperative that needs immediate attention. In the wake of these tragedies, CHA again calls on policy makers to take immediate action on common-sense gun safety measures, which should include:

  • Requiring every gun buyer to pass a criminal background check,
  • Taking military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines off the streets.

CHA supports the "Background Check Expansion Act" and has also called on Congress to allow funding for research on gun violence. We urge Congress and the Administration to come together and work in a bipartisan manner to pass meaningful gun safety legislation.

September Webinar on Tax Exemption Issues
Register now for the CHA/Vizient Sept. 4 webinar, from 2-3 p.m. ET, on tax exemption issues. This webinar will provide an overview of what tax-exempt hospitals need to understand about community benefit and tax-exemption as well as the latest news on exemption erosion, Congressional oversight and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) community benefit and 501(r) reviews. Justin Lowe, a tax lawyer with Ernst & Young LLP who formerly was with the IRS where he worked on implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and tax-exemption issues, will discuss how the IRS is reviewing hospital compliance with the ACA provisions related to community health needs assessments and financial assistance as well as ways your organization can prepare for these reviews.

CHA Recognizing Suicide Prevention Month in September
In June 2018 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's reported on rising suicide rates in its Vital Signs report. The CDC found that during 1996-2016, suicide rates increased in nearly every state, including greater than 30% increases in 25 states. The report also found that more than half of those committing suicide were not known to have mental health conditions and that relationship, substance abuse, health and financial problems were factors contributing to suicide. During the month of September CHA will share facts, stories and resources that will help the ministry better understand this growing public health problem and actions they can take to address it. If you'd like to share work your organization is doing in suicide prevention, please contact Indu Spugnardi.

Healthcare Financial Management Association Revises Accounting Guidance Related to Uncompensated Care
The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) has published a revised version of Statement 15, "Valuation and Financial Statement Presentation of Charity Care, Implicit Price Concessions and Bad Debts by Institutional Healthcare Providers," to reflect changes in bad debt reporting resulting from the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Accounting Standards Update 2014-09, "Revenue from Contracts (Topic 606)," a cross-industry update.

Reporting changes include the addition of implicit price concessions as a new category, along with charity care and bad debt, within uncompensated care. Implicit price concessions occur when an organization determines that it will, or is likely to, acknowledge a discount or concessions to standard pricing for an individual patient or portfolio of patients before a credit risk assessment can be made. Visit the HFMA website to view Issue Analysis and Statement.

RWJF Grant Opportunity to Reduce Tobacco Use
Through this funding opportunity, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) seeks to support and engage black community members, persons of lower socioeconomic status and rural residents in the South and Midwest in order to increase their ability to advocate for stronger, locally or regionally driven tobacco-control and prevention policies and practices. The application deadline is Aug. 29 at 3 p.m. ET. Visit the grant webpage for more information and to apply online.

Community Benefit and State Policy
A new National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) guest post in the Milbank Blog explores how states are increasingly using policy levers to influence hospital community benefit spending. NASHP, with support from the New England States Consortium Systems Organization and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has convened a hospital community benefits workgroup that will examine the following: how states define and count community benefit; criteria to evaluate community health needs assessments; how to use community health trusts for community benefit investing; and what measurement tools are available to evaluate the benefits of community benefit spending on public health programs.

AAP Issues Policy on Racism's Impact on Child Health
In July the American Academy of Pediatrics issued its first policy on the impact of racism on child health. The policy, The Impact of Racism on Child and Adolescent Health, provides a historical perspective on the factors that have led to the persistence of racism and how institutional (structural), personally mediated (interpersonal) and internalized (self-directed) racism undermines individual and population health outcomes. The policy also highlights how pediatricians can address and ameliorate the effects of racism through clinical practice; workforce development and professional education; and community engagement, advocacy and public policy.

The Root Cause Coalition and RWJF Present Learning Cohorts
The Root Cause Coalition has announced a new initiative, Learning Cohorts, made possible with support from the RWJF. Participants will learn and share best practices on addressing housing and food insecurity. The goal is to help participants develop a deeper understanding of how to design, implement and evaluate social determinant interventions. Learning Cohorts kick off with two meetings on Sunday, Oct. 20, at The Root Cause Coalition's Fourth National Summit on Social Determinants of Health, in San Diego. Visit The Root Cause Coalition website for more information.

Cross-Sector Innovation Initiative — Call for Proposals
The Public Health National Center for Innovations (PHNCI) and the Center for Sharing Public Health Services (CSPHS), with support from the RWJF, are jointly leading the Cross-sector Innovation Initiative (CSII) to examine the unique role of public health in fostering work across multiple sectors addressing social determinants of health and health equity. CSII has issued a call for proposals seeking collaborations aimed at aligning and supporting partnerships among public health, health care and social services sectors. Proposals, which are due Sept. 5 at 3 p.m. ET, will be submitted in a two-phase process and must be submitted through the RWJF online system. Visit the PHNCI website for more information.

TFAH and Well Being Trust Examine "Deaths of Despair"
In June, Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and Well Being Trust released an issue brief, "Alcohol and Drug Misuse and Suicide and the Millennial Generation – A Devastating Impact," which examined data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 1999 and 2017. Researchers found that across all U.S. demographics, alcohol, drug and suicide deaths increased during the study period. But what stood out was the mammoth increase among those between ages 18 and 34. Alcohol, drug and suicide deaths among young adults climbed from 12,000 in 1999 to 36,000 in 2017. The issue brief offers interventions, among them more access to behavioral health care, increase in telemedicine for rural residents and limiting alcohol for teenagers and young adults at the state and local levels. For more information on the brief, visit

Data Sources on Older Adults
When assessing your community's needs don't forget the needs of older adults. Two good sources of data on the health and social status of older adults are the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) and the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study.

  • The National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) fosters research to guide efforts to reduce disability, maximize health and independent functioning and enhance quality of life at older ages. As the U.S. population ages, NHATS will provide the basis for understanding trends in late-life functioning, how these differ for various population subgroups and the economic and social consequences of aging and disability for individuals, families and society.
  • The Health and Retirement Study (HRS) is a leading source for information on the changing health and economic circumstances of adults over age 50 in the United States. The core survey collects information on health, health services information, labor force participation, economic status, family structure and expectations for certain events.

Upcoming CHA Events
For more information and to register for these events visit the CHA website.

Community Benefit in the News
View recent articles from Catholic Health World and Health Progress featuring community benefit news and programs from the across the ministry.