$1.3 million in Health Care Services and Uncompensated Care Given Annually
Orange City Area Health System provides $1.3 million in community benefits to the region annually, according to a recently completed assessment of those programs and services. That amount, based on 2010 figures, includes $700,000 in uncompensated care and $600,000 in free or discounted community benefits that Orange City Area Health System specifically implemented to help the region’s residents.
Community benefits are activities designed to improve health status and increase access to health care. Along with uncompensated care (which includes both charity care and bad debt), community benefits include such services and programs as health screenings, support groups, counseling, immunizations, nutritional services, educational programs, donations, and medical support for community events.
The results for Orange City Area Health System are included in a statewide report by the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) that shows Iowa hospitals provided community benefits in 2010 valued at more than $1.3 billion. All 118 of Iowa’s community hospitals participated in the survey.
“We take very seriously our responsibility to be good community members,” reports Marty Guthmiller, CEO of Orange City Area Health System. “In fact, it is more than a responsibility, it is an obligation as a major employer and as a local resource for health related information.”
The programs and services accounted for in the survey were implemented in direct response to the needs of individual communities, as well as entire counties and regions. Many of these programs and services simply would not exist without hospital support and leadership, said IHA President Kirk Norris. But the ability of Iowa hospitals to respond to such needs is continuously challenged by the ongoing economic downturn as well as by huge losses inflicted upon hospitals by Medicare and Medicaid. Total uncompensated care in 2010, including charity care and bad debt, was valued at more than $850 million, an increase of $54 million (6.8 percent) over 2009.
According to Guthmiller, “The health care industry is certainly not immune to economic downturns, but our obligation to care for those in need is paramount and trumps economics. It is a very unique aspect of the ‘business’ of health care. As such, we will continue to offer free and discounted services to those with documented need, remaining good stewards of the resources entrusted to us.”