The Wisconsin Hospital Association has launched a website promoting the quantifiable community benefits provided by its member hospitals. All of the state's hospitals participated in the effort. The site reports that in 2005, Wisconsin's 132 hospitals provided $900 million in free services, including $158 million worth of charity care (the state of Wisconsin defines "charity care" as care the hospital provides knowing in advance that it will not be paid for the service). The hospitals also absorbed $500 million in Medicaid-related losses, the group said. Wisconsin hospitals also provide hospital pricing and quality information through association websites.
This effort, which is likely to be mirrored by hospital associations across the United States, follows suggested community-benefit reporting guidelines recently published by PriceWaterhouseCoopers.