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Skiff provides $1 million-plus in community benefits, report says

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013 11:17 a.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013 11:19 a.m. CST

Skiff Medical Center provides $1,188,214 in community benefits to Jasper County, according to a recently completed assessment of those programs and services.

That amount, based on figures from the 2012 fiscal year, includes $931,794 in uncompensated care and $139,573 in free or discounted community benefits that Skiff specifically implemented to help Jasper 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, educational services, support groups, counseling, immunizations, nutritional services and transportation programs.

The results for Skiff are included in a statewide report by the Iowa Hospital Association that shows Iowa hospitals provided community benefits in 2012 valued at nearly $1.6 billion, including more than $641 million in charity care. All 118 of Iowa’s community hospitals participated in the survey.

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. According to IHA President and CEO Kirk Norris, many of these programs and services simply would not exist without hospital support and leadership.

But the ability of Iowa hospitals to respond to such needs is being affected as hospitals recover from the economic downturn as well as manage huge losses inflicted upon hospitals by Medicare and Medicaid, totaling more than $274 million (a 5.1 percent increase over last year’s report). More than 60 percent of all hospital revenue in Iowa comes from Medicare and Medicaid. Hospitals serving small, rural communities and counties are particularly dependent on the programs.

Iowa hospitals, which employee more than 70,000 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 and the Commonwealth Fund.

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.