As a non-profit health system, Saint Thomas Health, in conjunction with its sponsor, Ascension and the Catholic Health Association, takes a conservative approach in determining what expenditures and programs “count” as community benefit and community building in quantifying the activities for this report.
For additional information and resources pertaining to Community Benefit, please visit Catholic Health Association’s website: https://www.chausa.org/communitybenefit/community-benefit
Community Benefit is generally defined, according to the Catholic Health Association’s "A Guide for Planning & Reporting Community Benefit (2015)" as: Programs, services and activities that provide treatment or directly promote health and healing in response to identified community needs and do one or more of the following:
- Improve access to health care
- Enhance the health of the community
- Advance medical or healthcare knowledge
- Relieve or reduce the burden of government or other community efforts
Community Benefit Categories
Financial Assistance (Charity Care) − Financial Assistance is defined as the net cost of inpatient and outpatient health care provided to persons who lack the resources to fully pay for medical care.
Government Sponsored Means-Tested Health Care − Government Sponsored Means-Tested care is the unpaid cost (shortfall) of public programs. This is the net cost of care provided to individuals on Medicaid, TennCare and other public programs. Note that in keeping with the Catholic Health Association’s conservative approach to reporting community benefit, Medicare shortfall is not included.
Additional Community Benefit Services - Additional Community Benefit Services are defined as the net cost of programs, services and activities that address a community health need and that do not generate a patient bill and directly affect the health of the community which may include community health improvement, health professions education, subsidized health services, research, and financial and in-kind contributions.
Community Building − In addition to reporting on these Community Benefit categories, Saint Thomas Health engages in Community Building, which is defined as the net cost of programs, services and activities that improve the quality of life within a community and affect the social determinants of health of individuals and communities.
Who is Responsible for Community Benefit
Community benefit is not the work of a single department or group within Saint Thomas Health but is part of the Saint Thomas Health Mission and cultural fabric. Each hospital’s leadership team is responsible for the development and execution of a community benefit plan (see Implementation Strategy) that is responsive to their community’s needs. The Saint Thomas Health Community Health and Benefit Committee provides direction, expertise and other resources to leadership and associates to: educate, encourage and empower associates for community engagement; assess and evaluate community needs; work with internal and external partners to develop and support initiatives that address identified community needs; and track and report resulting community benefit. An electronic software application is used to provide accurate reporting and timely analysis of these efforts throughout the Saint Thomas Health ministries.