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Md. Hospital Assn. cites boosted spending for nontraditional community-health expenses

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The quaint part of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

In a sign of the growing recognition of the importance of  taking a wider view of the imperatives of  community health, the Maryland Hospital Association says that the state’s hospitals  last year provided nearly $1.6 billion in services other than the sort of direct medical care  of the type traditionally only offered in hospitals or clinics. That was up from  the $1.5 billion they spent on these services in 2015.

The group said its members spent 10 percent of their operating expenses on such non-traditional services as chronic-disease-management programs, free health education and other public-health programs.

The  spending also included providing charitable health care for the poor. Still, spending on charitable care fell by about $56 million this year to $428 million, which the association linked to more people having insurance because of the Affordable Care Act. This, the group said, let the hospitals spend more money on other community benefits.

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