Wisconsin Hospitals Delivered Nearly $2B in Community Benefits and Charity Care

Hospital COVID-19 responses included in annual WHA Community Benefits Report

January 28, 2021

The Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) 2020 Community Benefits Report details the many ways hospitals and health systems in Wisconsin add value to their communities beyond standard measures of health care quality, including investments of nearly $2 billion in community benefits in fiscal year 2019.
WHA’s Community Benefits Report tabulates costs Wisconsin hospitals incur through charity care provision and financial losses resulting from administering public health programs as well investments made in community health improvement services, cash and in-kind donations and other community building activities. These and other investments by Wisconsin Hospitals in their communities totaled $1.99 billion in 2019.
The report also highlights the intangible benefits hospitals deliver to their communities through civic engagement, sharing stories from each WHA member hospital and health system relating to charity care, free clinics, hospital-supported initiatives and—new in this year’s report—fighting COVID-19.
“Serving our communities well means going out of your way to help others, knowing that a greater cause is served when we look out for one another,” said WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding. “That is why Wisconsin’s health care providers naturally seek, create or otherwise take advantage of every opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the people they have the privilege of serving.”
This year’s report on the community benefits realized as a result of investments, programs and initiatives enacted by Wisconsin hospitals and health systems includes a period of time that saw uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 throughout Wisconsin, which pushed the state’s health care system to its limits. “During the height of virus spread, hospitals and health systems provided critical assistance to the state’s testing efforts, administering COVID tests within their facilities and in drive through sites in their communities,” said Borgerding. “Wisconsin health care providers are again stepping up to play an important role in administering vaccines to their communities, demonstrating resilience, creativity and leadership that will help speed our state’s pandemic recovery. If Wisconsin’s hospitals did not take on these public health responsibilities, they may not be happening in some areas.”
All the while, Wisconsin health care providers maintain strong community involvement, both within and outside their facilities, as reflected in WHA’s 2020 Community Benefits Report.
In addition to the printed Community Benefits Report, WHA is introducing this year an interactive version of the report so that members and stakeholders can view, celebrate and share the meaningful ways hospitals and health systems are enhancing the quality of life we all enjoy here in Wisconsin. Visit wha.org/community-benefits to learn more.
For more information about WHA’s Community Benefits Report and ways you can promote your hospital’s or health system’s community development programs and outcomes, contact WHA Vice President of Communications Kelly Lietz.

This story originally appeared in the January 28, 2021 edition of WHA Newsletter