Above and beyond healthcare services, hospitals across New Jersey provided $2.3 billion in added benefits to their communities in 2011.  That's according to a report from the New Jersey Hospital Association.

Virtua Hospital, Berlin (Virtua)

Those benefits include free and discounted care for the poor, uninsured and senior citizens, community health offerings like immunization clinics and other wellness programs, education for future healthcare professionals, medical research and a wide variety of additional community-based programs.

"It is no longer just about who comes through the doors of the hospital.  New Jersey hospitals are proactively reaching out into their communities as active partners to improve the health of the people they serve," said NJHA President and CEO Betsy Ryan.

The $2.3 billion in community benefits tallied in the report include:

  • $1.8 billion in unpaid costs of patient care, which includes $595 million in unreimbursed charity care services for the working poor, $171 million in unpaid care for Medicare patients and $113 million in unpaid care for Medicaid patients. This amount also includes $1 billion in uncollectible costs for treatment, also known as bad debt.
  • $44 million in community health improvement services, which include programs such as health fairs, health screenings and immunization clinics. About 3,800 programs were held statewide, providing more than 15 million unique “personal encounters” between hospitals and community members.
  • $112 million in health professions education, which includes education, internships, residency programs, scholarships and other programs to prepare the next generation of physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals. Nearly 59,000 current and future healthcare workers were served in these programs.
  • $339 million in other community services and programs, many of which go beyond the traditional definition of “healthcare programs.” Hospitals provided over 2,800 such programs in 2011, providing 1.4 million unique “personal encounters.”

The full report is available at www.njha.com/pressroom.