Lucas County Health Center provides
$2,001,537 in community benefits to Lucas County according to a recently
completed assessment of those programs and services. That amount, based on 2015
figures, includes $336,159 in uncompensated care and $1,628,873 in free or
discounted community benefits that Lucas County Health Center specifically implemented
to help Lucas County 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 and
The results for Lucas County Health
Center are included in a statewide report by the Iowa Hospital Association
(IHA) that shows Iowa hospitals provided community benefits in 2015 valued at more
than $1 billion, including more than $246 million in charity care. All 118 of
Iowa's community hospitals participated in the survey.
"Iowa hospitals are uniquely
positioned to deliver these programs and services," said IHA President and CEO
Kirk Norris. "No other public or private entity could possibly fill in for
hospitals in terms of both assessing and responding to specific community
Uncompensated care (which is made
up of both charity care and bad debt) also plays a role in overall community
benefit for services provided by hospitals. Total uncompensated care in 2015
was valued at nearly $520 million. The survey also showed total Medicare and
Medicaid losses (at cost) of nearly $370 million.
Iowa hospitals, which employ more
than 71,000 people, continue to implement strategies that increase value to
their patients and communities by offering high-quality care to individuals,
addressing the health needs of identified populations and implementing process
improvements that bend the cost curve. By seeking out ways to raise quality, reduce
waste and increase safety, Iowa hospitals have become value leaders, as shown
in multiple studies by the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, the Commonwealth
Fund and others.
LCHC is continually looking for
ways to improve the patient experience by increasing safety, improving quality,
and reducing waste. By participating in the nationwide initiative, Partnership
for Patients, LCHC is able to partner with hospitals across the nation to
improve processes in regards to topics like patient falls, readmissions,
catheter associated urinary tract infections, and more. Working with an
advisor, this partnership sparks discussions in regards to best practices and
gives LCHC staff the tools to implement them.
These efforts, along with IHA's
ongoing advocacy to create fairer payment methodologies from Medicare and Medicaid,
help ensure the financial stability of hospitals, making it possible for them
to provide the services and programs most needed by their communities.