It is more important than ever to ensure community and state leaders understand and appreciate the local impact of hospitals beyond caring for the injured and sick. Community benefit is the term used to describe services given by a hospital to improve the overall quality of life in a community. It includes uncompensated patient care, free or low-cost immunizations, charitable contributions, family support services, health education, community building activities and much more.
Community benefits programs are designed to provide increased access to care and address population health inequalities for vulnerable patients. In order to be considered a community benefit, a program or service must respond to an identified community need and meet at least one of these criteria: improves access, enhances health, advanced medical or health knowledge or relieves or reduces the burden of government. By providing preventive health services and programs, Colorado hospitals and health systems are helping to reduce the need for more costly emergency treatment and acute care while also improving the health and well being of entire populations.