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Existing Resources for Nonprofit Healthcare Organizations to Enhance their Community Benefits/Social Accountability Performance and Reporting
To follow are brief descriptions of significant resources available to nonprofit healthcare organizations on planning, assessment and/or reporting of community benefits/social accountability programs, prepared by the Alliance for Advancing Nonprofit Healthcare.
"Advancing the Role of Nonprofit Health Care"
This four-page article, authored by Marcia Metcalf and appearing in the McNerney Forum section of the Summer 2002 issue of Inquiry, summarizes the views of the Alliance for Advancing Nonprofit Healthcare
on the role and responsibilities of nonprofit healthcare organizations. This article is available on the Internet at www.inquiryjournal.org.
"Community Benefit Planning: A Resource for Nonprofit Social Accountability" and "Community Benefit Program: A Revised Resource for Social Accountability"
These two documents, each over one hundred pages, were developed primarily by the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHAUSA) to assist hospitals in planning, assessing and reporting on their community benefits programs. The latter, published in 2001, is targeted to Catholic hospitals, while the former, published in 2002, is intended for the broader nonprofit hospital community. These documents include input and support from several other national groups, such as VHA, Inc. and Premier, Inc. CHAUSA has also developed a similar document for nursing facilities and senior housing programs in collaboration with the Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AHSA). All three documents are available for purchase on CHAUSAs website, www.chausa.org.
"Community Benefit Reporting Recommendations and Standard Definitions"
This twenty-eight page document, developed and updated by VHA Mountain States in May 2003, can be viewed as an adjunct to the above guides, as it provides more detailed recommendations on what types of programs and expenditures should be counted and reported as community benefits. The Alliance is seeking permission for inclusion of this document on the Alliances website. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Draft Documents on "Advancing the State of the Art in Community Benefit"
The Public Health Institute, headquartered in Oakland, California, is leading a demonstration project to establish certain core principles and detailed guidance on what should and should not be counted and reported as community benefits, with a heavy emphasis on identifying and addressing disproportionate unmet health-related needs through primary prevention, continuity of care and linkages with other community resources. The Institutes website is www.phi.org.
"State Law Approaches to Ensuring the Social Accountability of NonProfit Health Care Organizations"
This thirty-five page document was issued in July 1999 by the Coalition for Nonprofit Health Care and prepared by its General Counsel and Legal Assistant. It summarizes legislative developments in individual states related to community benefits standards and/or reporting. Because the Coalition is ceasing its operations, the Alliance is asking its permission to be able to continue to make this document available to the field.
Guidelines of Individual State Attorneys General
Related to the above document on individual state activity, the websites of the offices of several state attorneys general contain guidance to nonprofit healthcare organizations on compliance with their community benefits laws. Particularly detailed guidance on community benefits reporting by hospitals and by HMOs is available on the website of the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, www.ago.state.ma.
National Community Benefit Conference
The second national conference for community benefits planning professionals, co-sponsored by CHAUSA, VHA, Inc. and its Health Foundation, will be held on January 29-30, 2004 in Miami, Florida.
The agenda and registration form are available on CHAUSAs website, www.chausa.org.
Health Care Provider Reference Guide
This thirty-four page document was published by the IRS in Fall 2003 for healthcare providers as a guide to its rules in processing 501(c)(3) exemption applications, including issues it considers in assessing whether activities that promote health are also charitable and whether a hospital meets the community benefit standard. The document concludes with a four-page checklist for providers and a sample conflict of interest policy.
This guide is available on the IRS website, www.irs.gov.