A critical time to prove community benefit

A new report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers argues that with lots of high-profile scrutiny under way, non-profit hospitals need to do a much better job of measuring and communicating the community benefit and charity care they provide. What's more, PWC suggests, hospitals will need to develop patient-friendly pricing schemes to compliment their community-friendly policies. The consulting firm breaks down its recommendations across reporting, pricing and business relationship strategies, and offers advice on how to address each area.

With regards to reporting, it suggests, among other things, that non-profit hospitals report charity care at cost rather than charges, that they conduct economic impact studies to quantify community benefit in dollars and publicize those results and that they set policies which clearly distinguish charity care from bad debt. Among its several pricing recommendations, it suggests creating a "central pricing office" tasked with providing patients with quotes for care (a growing necessity as consumer-driven healthcare expands, it notes). And where business relationships are concerned, it recommends transparency and accountability checks, such as documenting that joint ventures further the hospital's charitable purpose.

To get more of PWC's recommendations:
- read their report (reg. req.)