Study: Non-profit community benefit programs growing

Despite some major challenges, community benefit programs at not-for-profit health systems are growing, according to a recent survey by the Catholic Health Association and VHA. The survey, which polled more than 200 attendees of a joint CHA/VHA conference on the subject, found that three-quarters of respondents had expanded community benefit programs during the past three years--and that they expect to keep expanding such programs for at least three more years. Just fewer than 10 percent said that subsidized medical care and outreach levels fell during the past three years--but none of the respondents expected such programs to shrink in the near future.

When asked which programs delivered the most impact, improving access to care ranked first with respondents, followed by health education, and promotion and management of chronic conditions. Medical and health professional education, meanwhile, was ranked as least beneficial.

However, there are challenges involved in continuing to grow community benefit programs, of course. When polled on their biggest concerns, the number one challenge named by respondents was limited staffing to implement such programs, following by confusion over how community benefits fit into a health system's larger priorities. Financial constraints ranked third.

To learn more about the survey:
- read this Modern Healthcare article (reg. req.)
- read this CHA press release

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