Not-for-profit hospitals’ provision of community benefit during the 2008 recession: An analysis of hospitals in Maryland

Simone Rauscher Singh

Abstract


During the 2008 recession, many U.S. hospitals had to lay off staff and cut services to reduce costs, yet little is known about how these cuts affected hospitals’ provision of community benefits. While the need for charitable programs and services grew during this economically difficult time, financial pressures may have forced hospitals to cut back on their community benefit spending. Using data for not-for-profit hospitals in the state of Maryland for the years 2006 to 2010, this study explored whether, and if so how, hospitals changed their provision of community benefit during the 2008 recession. The findings showed that, on average, Maryland hospitals increased their charitable activities during the recent recession. Between 2006 and 2010, total spending on community benefits grew from an average of 5.6% to 7.7% of operating expenses with the most substantial growth in hospitals’ provision of charity care and mission-driven health services. Panel regression analysis showed that this increase in charitable activity was associated with increases in community need. Hospitals’ financial performance, on the other hand, was unrelated to their community benefit spending. These findings indicate that even in times of constrained budgets, Maryland hospitals provided substantial amounts of community benefit in response to the needs of the communities they serve. Hospital-based community benefit programs thus have the potential to play an important role in on-going community-wide efforts aimed at reducing the burden of illness and improving population health.

 


Full Text: PDF DOI: 10.5430/jha.v3n3p7

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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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