A Publication of WTVP

The Illinois Attorney General’s Office (IAGO) now requires all non-profit hospitals to file an Annual Non-Profit Hospital Community Benefits Plan Report within six months after the close of their fiscal year. OSF Healthcare System’s fiscal year ends September 30, so our report is due March 31, 2006.

There are five major sections of the mandatory report, beginning with the organization’s mission statement to ensure that at the core of the hospital’s existence is a commitment to serve the community’s health care needs. All of the area hospitals’ mission statements address this requirement.

The second section requires the hospital to attach its Community Benefits Plan and the date it was adopted. The IAGO wants to see “an operational plan for serving health care needs of the community.”

Third is the amount of dollars provided as charity care. The definition is quite lengthy but helpful in understanding what the Attorney General’s office considers charity care and what it doesn’t, ensuring all hospitals’ reports will be on the same basis: “Charity care is care for which the provider does not expect to receive payment from the patient or a third-party payer. Charity care does not include bad debt or the un-reimbursed cost of Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal, State, or local indigent health care programs, eligibility for which is based on financial need. In reporting charity care, the reporting entity must report the actual cost of services provided, based on the total cost to charge ratio derived from the hospital’s Medicare cost report and not the actual charges for the services.”

In the fourth section, hospitals are allowed to share all the community benefits provided other than charity care such as government sponsored indigent health care (“Unreimbursed cost of Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal, State, or local indigent health care programs, eligibility for which is based on financial need. Includes both inpatient and outpatient services. In calculating this cost, hospitals should apply a total cost-to-charge ratio to obtain costs, unless the hospital has an alternative method for determining costs, then deduct any revenues that were received for such services.”); volunteer services (“Voluntary activities provided by hospital employees and volunteers in connection with a hospital’s Community Benefits Program that take place as the result of a formal hospital initiative to organize or promote voluntary participation in the activity.”); education (“Costs incurred for hospital-based educational programs such as medical residency and internships and nursing, radiology technician and physical therapy programs, reduced by direct medical education funding from third-party payer reimbursement, offsite rotation revenue, fees charged, etc.”); language assistant services; government sponsored program services; donations; research; subsidized health services; bad debts; and other community benefits.

The hospital’s audited financial statements constitute the fifth section.

The non-profit hospitals serving the tri-county area and beyond have extensive histories of giving back to all of the communities served. This state-mandated report simply provides a framework to document those many community benefits. IBI