Seattle-based Swedish Health Services released its 2017 Community Benefit Report in June, detailing the more than $200 million in community benefit it provided for the year. This included $23.9 million in free and discounted care, marking a 12 percent increase from 2016. As the health system approaches the end of 2018, it is on track to surpass $1 billion in community benefit over a 5-year period.
The 2017 benefits included $122 million in unfunded Medicare and Medicaid treatment, $30 million in education and research programs, $4 million in community health grants and donations, and $16 million in subsidized services. Swedish employees also spent 6,500 hours volunteering in the community.
“Not only are we working to ensure that free or discounted care remains possible, but we are also focused on improving access to care in other ways,” says Swedish CEO Dr. Guy Hudson. “We are committed to addressing growing community health concerns in a variety of areas including the mounting opioid epidemic, the increasing need for mental health services, the critical issue of reducing disparities in birth outcomes through improved maternal and child health initiatives, and the vital request of our LGBTQ community for a welcoming and inclusive environment for medical care.”
Community benefit is a major area of focus for Washington State’s hospitals, as they provide many resources to improve the health of their communities. In 2015 — the latest year in which statewide data is available — non-governmental, not-for-profit Washington hospitals provided nearly $1.2 billion in uncompensated care (charity care and unfunded Medicaid treatment) to residents and provided $335 million in other community benefit. (Tim Pfarr)