Community Benefit

Disaster Preparedness

Please Take Note: The information provided does not constitute legal or tax advice. The material is provided for informational/educational purposes only. Please consult with counsel regarding your organization's particular circumstances.

Question: What costs related to emergency/disaster preparedness can be counted as community benefit?

Recommendation: Costs for disaster readiness of your organization over and above accreditation, licensure requirements and standard practice may be reported as community building. Be careful not to double-count with in-kind donations and be certain that these expenses are not already captured in indirect costs.

Costs for community disaster readiness can be reported as community benefit.

The IRS instructions include as community health improvement, activities and programs that "strengthen the community health resilience by improving the ability of a community to withstand and recover from public health emergencies."

Report costs associated with:
  • Participation in community-wide assessments of community disaster preparedness and resilience (not facility assessments)
    • Report under Category G. Community Benefit Operations when done as part of the organization's broader community health needs assessment.
    • Report under A 4Social and Environmental Improvement Activities when done as a separate assessment for community disaster preparedness.
  • Participation in planning for preparing the community for disaster preparedness.
    • Report under G. Community Benefit Operations when done as part of the organization's implementation strategy
    • Report under A 4 Social and Environmental Improvement Activities when done as a separate plan for community disaster preparedness
  • Participation in implementing plans associated with preparing the community for disaster preparedness (such as mental health resource costs associated with training, community partnerships, and outreach planning).
    • Report under A 4 Social and Environmental Improvement Activities  
  • Assisting other hospitals and health care facilities not having the resources, capacity or expertise to meet their own preparedness needs.  Examples of assistance include stockpiling medical, surgical, and pharmaceutical supplies for other health care organizations or providing staff and community member training and drills.
    • Report in category F3. Community Support.  If contributions are financial, be sure to retain documentation from receiving organization that funds will be used to support a community benefit activity.
  • Other costs for activities over and above accreditation, licensure requirements and standard practice.
    • Report under F3. Community Support

Note: The instructions for IRS Form 990 Schedule H state that organizations can report as community health improvement programs or activities that "strengthen community health resilience by improving the ability of a community to withstand and recover from public health emergencies."

(Updated April 2015; Updated November 2015)