Minnesota Hospital Association


January 21, 2015

Minnesota's nonprofit hospitals contribute $4.2 billion in health care and programs to Minnesota communities

Hospitals benefiting the health of their communities


ST. PAUL – Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems contributed more than $4.2 billion in programs and services in 2013 to benefit the health of their communities, an increase of 5.4 percent compared to 2012, according to the latest annual Community Benefit Report released by the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA).   

“Health care in Minnesota is changing and evolving at a rapid pace,” said Lawrence Massa, president and CEO of the Minnesota Hospital Association. “But what hasn’t changed is the collective commitment of our hospitals to be responsive caregivers and community partners who are dedicated to their mission of providing high quality care that benefits the entire community.”   

Of the $4.2 billion, Minnesota hospitals provided $459 million in proactive services responding to specific community health needs, including health screenings, health education and health fairs, immunization clinics and other community outreach, including in the areas of fitness, weight loss and diabetes prevention.  A few examples of community programs include:

  • Allina Health’s Backyard Initiative where residents of South Minneapolis distributed 6,000 pounds of vegetables to 2,500 people;
  • Winona Health’s Community Care Network used health coaches to reduce emergency department visits and hospitalizations for individuals in the program by more than 85 percent; and
  • Cuyuna Regional Medical Center’s Project Can-do program introduced nearly 200 youth to the sport of Cross Country to create a program to expose youth to fitness in a fun environment and develop a love of running.   

Partnering with community organizations to meet local needs

As part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), each charitable hospital partners with community organizations to assess the health needs of their local residents, prioritize those needs and develop a plan to address those needs in the years ahead. Through these Community Health Needs Assessments, hospitals are able to develop tailored approaches that are as unique and diverse as the communities themselves.   

“As nonprofits, hospitals and health systems are dedicated to promoting and improving the health of local communities and the people we serve,” said Massa. “In addition to making sure patients receive the care they need when they need it, hospitals provide a number of important proactive and community health services that meet the unique needs of the communities they serve.”   

In addition to improving the health of the community, Minnesota hospitals reported providing:

  • $573 million in uncompensated care — providing care without getting paid — in 2013. This uncompensated care includes “charity care” for patients from whom there is no expectation of payment, and “bad debt,” the result of patients who cannot or did not pay their share of the hospital bill. Since 2009, uncompensated care has increased 20 percent, making uncompensated care a continuing concern for hospitals;
  • $431 million in education and workforce development, including training for doctors, nurses, and other highly skilled health care professionals;
  • $237 million in research to support the development of better medical treatments and to find cures for diseases; and
  • $2 billion in government underfunding as a result of treating Medicare and Medicaid patients and receiving a government reimbursement less than it costs the hospitals to provide the care.   

“Hospitals and health systems remain hopeful that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) insurance coverage requirements, including MNsure, will help stabilize uncompensated care growth as formerly uninsured patients become insured either in state public programs or new commercial health plan options,” Massa added. MHA has long supported efforts to get all Minnesotans covered with insurance.   

The 2014 Community Benefit Report reflects 2013 financial information — the most recent data available — self-reported by Minnesota hospitals and health care 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.   

“We know that much of what influences our health happens outside of the doctor’s office — in our schools, workplaces and neighborhoods,” added Massa. “Minnesota’s hospitals share a common goal of improving the health of Minnesotans and lowering the cost of care. Hospitals are driven by a mission to provide high quality health care that extends beyond the hospital’s four walls — ultimately strengthening our communities.”      

To read more about hospital’s community programs and obtain a copy of this or previous community benefit reports, go to: www.mnhospitals.org/communitybenefit.     

The Minnesota Hospital Association represents 143 hospitals and health systems, which provide quality care for their patients and meet the needs of their communities.   

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