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A Publication of WTVP

The actions of not-for-profit corporations and charitable organizations continue to receive attention from the media and various regulatory groups. This attention should be welcomed so the not-for-profit nature and the charitable purposes are made stronger by this review. The actual review can be tedious and distracting, but as questions are answered, the vision and values of the organization should be more clearly visible.

OSF's mission statement was reviewed this past year and determined that it accurately reflects the system-wide activity: "In the spirit of Christ and the example of Francis of Assisi, the Mission of OSF HealthCare is to serve persons with the greatest care and love in a community that celebrates the gift of life."

The Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis and OSF HealthCare have been serving our community dating back to 1877. The serving of persons without consideration of their ability to pay is a founding tenet of OSF. In fiscal 2004, OSF provided $36.4 million in charity care system wide. Of that amount, more than $22.6 million was provided by OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and Children's Hospital of Illinois.

Most of the charity care support comes from operations of the medical centers. Additional assistance to families and patients is made available from donations. In addition, not-for-profit health care uses any net revenue to reinforce the delivery system by updating technology, facilities, and infrastructure. There's no dividend paid to stockholders. Plans are currently being formulated that will significantly improve the facilities of OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and Children's Hospital of Illinois. Over the next few years, these improvements will enable Children's Hospital and the Medical Center to sustain the high quality of care currently given.

Within OSF HealthCare, charitable donations have significant impact on what can be accomplished. Many programs within Children's Hospital of Illinois-such as play areas, schoolroom activities, and child safety programs-are dependent upon support charitable gifts provide. These programs improve the healing environment and help normalize the child's experiences while hospitalized. The planned facilities for OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and Children's Hospital of Illinois will have a substantial charitable component, without which OSF wouldn't be able to provide these necessary facilities.

One of the measures of accountability for charitable dollars is how much of the donation goes to support administration of the gift. In other words, this would be called overhead. These costs are higher when the charitable support is raised by special events and direct mail. Major gifts and planned gifts and bequests through a will or trust usually have a much lower administrative cost. OSF has a history of lower administrative costs; therefore, more of each charitable dollar goes for the improvement of facilities, equipment, and patient care. IBI

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