Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey: Massachusetts Hospitals and HMOs Contributed $985 Million in Community Benefits in 2021
Targeted News Service (Press Releases)
BOSTON, Massachusetts, Oct. 28 -- Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey issued the following news release on Oct. 27, 2022:
In fiscal year 2021, Massachusetts hospitals and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) contributed nearly $985 million in Community Benefits, according to reports published today by Attorney General Maura Healey's Office.
These reports mark the third year of reporting Community Benefits under the Attorney General's Office's updated Community Benefits Guidelines, which encourage non-profit hospitals and HMOs to adopt a framework centered around health equity while promoting investments in key social determinants of health.
"As communities faced another year of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals and HMOs made important investments in charity care and social determinants of health," said AG Healey. "This year's reports highlight the creativity and dedication of our health care system in identifying and addressing community needs."
A total of 57 Massachusetts hospitals completed Community Benefits reports for fiscal year 2021, covering the period from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021. Of those, 48 non-profit acute care hospitals reported a total of $767 million in Community Benefits expenditures, of which $52 million was reported as free or discounted care provided directly to patients. In addition, nine for-profit hospitals reported nearly $30 million in Community Benefit expenditures, $1.9 million of which was reported as free or discounted care for patients.
A total of five HMOs filed Community Benefits reports for fiscal year 2021. They reported $187 million in Community Benefits expenditures, of which over $132 million was contributed to the state's Health Safety Net, which pays for care for uninsured and underinsured residents who do not have access to affordable health coverage.
Hospitals and HMOs reported spending $472 million on Community Benefits programs. $237 million of Community Benefits program spending was allocated to one of four statewide health priorities--chronic disease ($119 million), housing stability and homelessness ($8.1 million), mental health ($89 million), and substance use disorder ($21 million). The remaining program funds were allocated to address other local health needs identified by communities in fiscal year 2021.
Many Massachusetts hospitals and HMOs implemented Community Benefits programs aimed at addressing health inequities and social determinants of health, including the following:
* Cape Cod Healthcare invested in maternal and child health initiatives to address the high maternal and child mortality rates in Barnstable County. Through community partnerships, Cape Cod Healthcare made breast feeding and healing support groups available to 86 parents and home visits by a certified postpartum doula for 139 parents. This initiative also enrolled 210 mothers and families in WIC and made 115 referrals to families for medical care, dental care, immunizations, health insurance, childcare, housing, and fuel assistance. Finally, Cape Cod Healthcare provided 50 car seats to low-income families and invested in the Fatherhood Initiative, a program providing support and education to fathers.
* Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Needham partnered with the Dedham Council on Aging to increase access to technology for seniors to prevent isolation and increase access to telehealth during the pandemic. Through this program, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Needham purchased 20 iPads for older adults in Dedham. In addition to telehealth services, users were also able to use these iPads to access Council on Aging programming, food pantry services, and other essential services.
* Athol Memorial Hospital offered a program focused on school-based tele-behavioral health services, care coordination, and youth substance use prevention and treatment services. Through this school-based collaboration, behavioral clinicians provided 1,225 clinical sessions via video to 66 at-risk students enrolled in the Ralph Mahar and Athol School Districts. School-based community health workers provided students and families with 273 referrals to community-based services.
* Health New England awarded "Many Hands Farm Corps" with a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging grant to support its Amherst Mobile Market (AMM). The AMM makes affordable produce available within walking distance of concentrated populations of low-income, low-mobility, and vehicle-less residents. Once per week, the market visits four of Amherst's eight Environmental Justice census tracts, offering $5 per week farm shares consisting of the customer's choice of six produce items supplied by local farms. Customers can also shop a la carte for produce at the low price of $1 per item. Those who pay with SNAP get their purchases reimbursed through the state's Healthy Incentives Program, and the market also accepts Pandemic EBT, WIC coupons, Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program coupons, cash, and credit.
The Community Benefits Program is managed by Assistant Attorney General Sandra Wolitzky and Health Care Analyst Maeva Veillard of AG Healey's Health Care Division. To learn more about the Community Benefits programs or access past reports, visit the AG's Community Benefits web page.