Community Benefit

September 2015 Community Benefit Update

We would like to share the following community benefit news and resources with you.

What Counts Update
Step It Up! The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities
CDC Report Looks at Racial Disparities in Heart Age
RWJF Culture of Health Prize — Call for Applications
Association for Community Health Improvement National Conference — Call for Proposals
CHA Community Benefit Events
Community benefit in the news

What Counts Update
The following guidance has been revised or added to CHA's What Counts Q&A website, which shares recommendations on what programs and services to report or not report as community benefit:

Cancer registries — The What Counts Task Force recommends that facilities do not report as community benefit the costs related to reporting data to cancer registries. Reporting to a cancer registry is a requirement for a hospital to be an accredited cancer treatment center. IRS Schedule H instructions state that to be reported as a community health improvement activity, a program or service cannot be required for licensure or accreditation.

Services for low-income hospital patients — The Task Force recommends that programs and services that assist low-income persons be reported as community health improvement if the primary purpose of the activity is to provide or improve access to needed services and/or to improve their health, so long as other criteria for community benefit are met. (See Principles for Determining What Programs and Activities are Community Benefit). Take care not to double count, that is, assure that the cost is not already reported as financial assistance (charity care), Medicaid shortfall or as part of a subsidized health service. For example, do not report as community health improvement any clinic services that are billed and treated as financial assistance.

Examples of services that could be reported in category A.3, Community Health Improvement/Health Care Support Services:

  • Taxi vouchers and other transportation for patients who otherwise could not afford to access the service.
  • Services that support the well-being of low-income patients, such as wigs and other supplies for low-income cancer patients.
  • Follow-up and case management services that help patients connect with primary care and other needed services, beyond routine discharge planning.

Examples of services not to report:

  • Services that are part of routine care of all patients.
  • Follow-up care that is part of discharge planning or is primarily designed to avoid readmissions penalties or in other ways financially benefit the organization.
  • Taxi vouchers and other transportation with a primary purpose to increase revenue for the hospital, such as transporting insured seniors from a community retirement center.

Step It Up! The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities
On Sept. 9 Surgeon General Murthy launched a Call to Action on Promoting Walking and Walkable Communities. The Call to Action highlights the significant health burden that exists in the U.S. today due to physical inactivity — contributing to more than 10 percent of the preventable mortality in America today. It also makes recommendations to a number of key sectors about critical actions they can take to improve community walkability and increase walking throughout the U.S. Visit the Surgeon General's website to learn more and access resources.

CDC Report Looks at Racial Disparities in Heart Age
On Sept. 1 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a Vital Signs report on "Predicted Heart Age (HA) and Racial Disparities in Heart Age among U.S. Adults at the State Level." This CDC Vital Signs report shows that for most Americans, their heart age is much higher than their actual age, particularly for men and African Americans. There are also geographic differences in average heart age across states. Mississippi and Louisiana have the highest heart ages, while Utah and Colorado have the lowest. Heart age provides a new way of framing risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), potentially simplifying communication about CVD risk and facilitating opportunities for healthy lifestyle changes and enhanced adherence to treatment recommendations. Visit the CDC website for more information.

RWJF Culture of Health Prize
The RWJF Culture of Health Prize recognizes and celebrates communities that have placed a priority on health and are creating powerful partnerships and deep commitments to make change. Presented annually by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Call for Applications for the 2016 RWJF Culture of Health Prize is currently underway.

In this fourth round of the competition, up to 10 winning communities will each receive a $25,000 cash prize and the chance to share their accomplishments with the nation. Communities — urban and rural, tribal, large, small and in between — are invited to apply. The application deadline is Nov. 12, 2015. To learn more about the prize, selection criteria, application process, and to see stories about previous winners, visit: http://rwjf.ws/1J1gxgg

Call for Proposals — Association for Community Health Improvement National Conference
ACHI is currently accepting breakout session and poster proposals for their upcoming conference March 1-3, 2016, in Baltimore. The conference theme is From Health Care to Healthy Communities and will feature presentations in six topic tracks showcasing innovative practices in community health improvement. Please read the call for proposals packet for more information on the conference and how to apply. All proposals are due by Sept. 25.

CHA Community Benefit Events
Community Benefit 101 — Oct. 6-7, St. Louis
Register today for CHA's one-and-a-half day seminar for new community benefit professionals that covers the basics of community benefit programming. The program will be offered Oct. 6-7, 2015, in St. Louis at the Chase Park Plaza hotel.

Community Benefit Webinar — Oct. 28 at Noon ET
Learn how one hospital joined forces with the local school system to deliver primary care and population health services to 43,000 children, the majority of whom live in poverty. Presenters will discuss primary care and integrated mental health services, school nursing services and large projects that have had a positive impact on the communities surrounding Baton Rouge, La.

Visit the CHA website for more information about these programs and to register.

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