Question: Often times, patients are without transportation to our hospital, a long-term care facility, or another hospital. Is transportation considered a routine service of patient care/customer service or a community benefit? If it counts, should we quantify the: cost of vehicle, salary of the drivers, time of staff to coordinate the program, mileage, and fees if the service is provided by outside companies such as ambulance services.
Recommendation: Transportation costs can be counted if they are subsidized by the hospital and it has been determined that the service is needed to access services by persons who cannot afford to pay for transportation. If this is the case, document the need you are meeting and how financial need was determined. The case is strongest if transportation extends to community services beyond those operated by your organization.
Transportation cost should not be reported as community benefit if:
- The transportation is provided as part of the basic services you offer. For example, if a long term care facility routinely takes residents to medical appointments as part of basic services.
- The primary purpose of the transportation is to help patient's access profitable services your organization provides. This would be considered a marketing activity (exception would be transportation to such a service for persons in financial need).
Also, we recommend not counting as community benefit routinely offered valet services.