New Jersey hospitals provided $2.7 billion in benefits to their communities last year, in addition to the health care services provided to patients, according to a new report from the New Jersey Hospital Association.
The total includes the value of free and discounted care for the poor, uninsured and senior citizens; community health services, like immunization clinics and other wellness programs; education for future health care professionals; and medical research.
“This report focuses on the little-noticed but critically important ‘people programs,'” association President and CEO Betsy Ryan said in a statement.
A survey gathered data for the report from 51 of the state’s 73 acute-care hospitals.
The largest portion of that $2.7 billion in community benefits tallied in the report is the $2.1 billion in unpaid costs of patient care, which includes $1 billion in uncollectible costs for treatment, also known as bad debt, and $686 million in unreimbursed charity care services for the working poor.
“These numbers reflect only a fraction of the considerable commitment New Jersey hospitals make to their communities to improve health and make this state a better place to live, work, grow and play,” said Tom Biga, executive vice president of the St. Barnabas HealthCare System and chairman of the NJHA board of trustees, in a statement.