This HealthAffairs piece looks at the effort to expand the meaning of community health improvement under the tax-exemption for many hospitals.
The authors note: “The requirement that nonprofit hospitals earn their tax-exempt status by benefiting their communities is enshrined in U.S. tax policy. ….”
“The significant reduction in the proportion of uninsured Americans as a result of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance expansions, coupled with the greater focus on community health planning under the ACA’s reforms governing tax-exempt hospitals, has increased interest among hospitals in how they might expand the traditional community benefit concept into a newer and larger force for health and society.
“One such health care delivery system example detailed in this post is (Michigan-based and Catholic) Trinity Health’s “Transforming Communities” initiative. Trinity Health is focusing on community health and well-being as a way to empower low-income, disadvantaged, and underserved populations and communities while also addressing the social determinants of health.
“Going forward, an important question becomes whether national health policies applicable to tax-exempt hospitals should be further revised to more actively encourage investments that improve health on a community-wide basis.”