Minnesota Hospital Association


June 01, 2022

Despite historic financial pressures, Minnesota hospitals and health systems contribute $3.3 billion to Minnesota communities

St. Paul, Minn. -- Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems contributed nearly $3.3 billion in programs and services in 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, to benefit the health of their communities, according to the latest community benefit report released by the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA).

“Individual and population health is influenced by the care provided in our hospitals, health systems, and clinics – as well as important social drivers such as education, transportation, food insecurity, and systemic barriers to care,” said Dr. Rahul Koranne, president and CEO, MHA. “Similar to how our health care heroes dedicate their time to meet patient needs in hospital or clinic settings, our hospitals and health systems provide innovative services to address basic needs that contribute to overall well-being in their communities. Improving care of each patient while improving the overall health of their communities is our mission.” 

The community support provided by hospitals and health systems continued throughout the pandemic even as the organizations experienced financial fragility and declining operating margins. The median operating margin for hospitals and health systems fell in 2020 to a razor thin 1.2% – signaling a continuing trend of financial challenges due in large part to declining reimbursements from both government and commercial payers; health care professional shortages that bring higher staffing expenses; and increasing costs of products and supplies such as pharmaceuticals, devices, and technology systems for electronic health records.    

Minnesota hospitals and health systems invested in a variety of community solutions to support social influencers of health and improve the future well-being of Minnesotans. Some examples include:    

  • Workforce programs and partnerships with area colleges and universities to invest in the workers of the future. 
  • COVID-19 mitigation efforts such as vaccine clinics, public health campaigns, and mental health innovations. 
  • Innovative care delivery, such as pediatric dental availability and substance use disorder interventions.
  • Helping to address housing, nutritional food, and transportation needs. 
  • Focusing on actionable steps to combat health inequities and innovative ways to educate the public on health disparities.    

In addition to improving the health of their communities, Minnesota hospitals and health systems reported providing:   

  • $649 million to patients who did not have health insurance or the means to pay for their care. 
  • $219 million in proactive services responding to specific community health needs, such as health screenings, health education, health fairs, immunization clinics, subsidized health services, and other community outreach programs, including the areas of fitness, nutrition, weight loss, mental health, and diabetes prevention.
  • $172 million in education and workforce development, including training for doctors, nurses, and other highly skilled health care professionals.
  • $15.4 million in research to support the development of better medical treatments and find cures for diseases.
  • $1.8 billion to supplement government reimbursements that are less than the actual cost of providing care for those on Medicare and Medicaid. This totaled 9% of hospitals and health systems’ operating expenses.

This community benefit report reflects 2020 financial information – the most recent data available – reported by Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems and supplemented with data reported to the Minnesota Department of Health. The annual report comprises an analysis of categories of community contribution activities on a statewide and regional basis. 

Read the full report.