According to the Attorney General’s Office, Massachusetts hospitals provided $641 million in community benefits for residents of Massachusetts in Fiscal Year 2018. The Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, for the first time, compiled the support provided to communities from local hospitals in a report titled “A Commitment to Community: 2020 Report Massachusetts Hospitals’ Community Benefit Initiatives.”The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office sets forth voluntary principles that non-profit hospitals follow in creating their community benefits programs. The AGO’s guidelines encourage hospitals to partner with their communities (and other hospitals in contiguous service areas) to offer programs that target unmet health needs within the communities they serve.
According to the report, while the guidelines are for non-profits, investor-owned hospitals in Massachusetts – such as MetroWest Medical Center and Saint Vincent Hospital (part of Tenet Healthcare) – also provide community benefits to their service areas. (Post-acute care hospitals, such as long-term acute care hospitals and inpatient rehabilitation facilities, also provide free community benefits to their communities but are not required to file annual reports to the state.)
Several of the identified programs funded by hospitals advance healthy aging by supporting services for older adults like transportation, access to healthy foods, and resource fairs.
For age-and dementia friendly stakeholders, Community Benefits could help cities, towns and regions engaged in the movement find support from hospitals and health systems.