MHS Community Benefits Total $88.3 Million in Fiscal Year 2014
Memorial Health System 2014 Community Benefit Report
Community Health Need Assessment
As a non-profit, community-owned healthcare organization, Memorial Health System is guided by its mission to improve the health of the people and communities we serve. We live out that mission in a variety of ways and take seriously the responsibility entrusted to us. The information below provides a glimpse of just a few of the programs that contributed to Memorial Health System's nearly $88.3 million community benefits in fiscal year 2014. Memorial Health System includes Memorial Medical Center, Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital, Taylorville Memorial Hospital, Passavant Area Hospital, Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois, Memorial Home Services and Memorial Physician Services. Included in this total was $14.4 million in free healthcare services for people who were uninsured or underinsured and unable to pay for their care. Memorial Health System provided an additional $42.9 million in unreimbursed Medicaid services.
Memorial Medical Center also annually files a report of its community benefit plan with the Illinois Attorney General. This report is public information and is available upon request from the Illinois Attorney General.
What is a Community Benefit?
In the broadest sense, a hospital benefits a community numerous ways. In 2014, Memorial Health System had four not-for-profit hospitals in Springfield, Lincoln, Taylorville and Jacksonville that provided health care services in central Illinois 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Memorial Health System is a major employer. We have nearly 6,000 full- and part-time employees whose work supports thousands of families. Memorial is a major contributor to the local economy.
Community benefit also has a more narrow definition. Not-for-profit health care organizations such as Memorial Health System are exempt from paying federal income taxes because they fall into a category recognized by the federal income tax code as charitable organizations. As a not-for-profit hospital, Memorial Medical Center is community-owned. We are governed by a volunteer board made up of community members. No one owns stock or receives proceeds from any profits we make. All profits are directed back into the hospital for continual improvement of health care operations.
At Memorial Medical Center, these investments make possible such advancements as the ongoing expansion of our surgery area with three new operating rooms and the addition of 114 private patient rooms. Memorial Medical Center is investing in learning with the construction of the Center for Learning and Innovation, which will feature a new conference center as well as a clinical simulation center and surgical skills laboratory that will improve health professions education throughout central Illinois. Memorial is partnering with the Univeristy of Illinois at Springfield and the University of Illinois Chicago to bring a new bachelors of science in nursing program to the UIS campus to increase the number of nurses available to meet our community’s needs. There are innumerable other ways we constantly strive to fulfill our mission to improve the health of the people and communities we serve.
In exchange for not-for-profit status, the Internal Revenue Service requires that hospitals engage in charitable activities that benefit their communities, known as community benefit. Memorial annually completes reports to the IRS and the Illinois Attorney General detailing our community benefit activities.
Memorial Medical Center has been tracking its community benefit contributions for more than 20 years. Many community benefit services occur behind the scenes. They are all but invisible to anyone who just looks at the bricks and mortar of the hospital building or the clinical care we offer our patients. As part of community benefit tracking, MMC must account for the charity care we provide ($10.8 million in FY 2014), as well as the government underpayment of Medicaid cost ($24.8 million in FY 2014). We are also training the next generation of doctors, nurses, radiology technicians, physical therapists and other healthcare professionals. We are involved in healthcare research. We support local initiatives that help to improve the health of our community. And we provide numerous free services such as health fair screenings, support groups, health education classes and community presentations. Total 2014 Memorial Medical Center community benefits last year were over $64 million.
What is Charity Care?
According to the Illinois Hospital Association, charity care is the free or discounted care provided to patients who cannot pay and who are not eligible for public programs (such as Medicare or Medicaid). These patients must meet certain financial criteria in accordance with hospital policy, such as incomes at or below a certain threshold of the federal poverty level. Charity care includes services for which hospitals neither received nor expected to receive payment because they determined the patient's inability to pay. This number is reported as the cost of care to the hospital.
Hospitals have become the healthcare safety net for the uninsured and our most vulnerable populations - the poor, the disabled, the young, and the elderly. Today, a growing number of the middle class are also being assisted by charity care. Memorial Health System is committed to serving the healthcare needs of every person in our community. "Equal Access" is part of the Memorial's Statement of Values. Our provision of care does not depend on whether the patient is able to pay for that care. We have established guidelines in which patients may apply and qualify for charity care assistance that may cover part or even all of their hospital care.
Who Qualifies for Charity Care?
Memorial has a generous charity care policy. At Memorial, patients who are uninsured or underinsured and who are unable to pay for the cost of their care are eligible for charity care assistance. Determination of eligibility is made by our patient financial counselors. If qualified, assistance is available for eligible patients whose income is up to 750% of the federal poverty guidelines. Information on Memorial's Charity Care Program is available by calling 217-788-3800 or toll free at 800-562-2829.
Memorial Health System affiliates provided $14.4 million in free services to people who were not able to pay for their care in FY 2014; $10.8 million of that care was provided at Memorial Medical Center.
If you would like additional information on Memorial's Community Benefit Programs, please contact Memorial's Community Benefit Coordinator at 217-788-7014, or email us.