Community Benefit and Community Engagement

The IRS requires non-profit hospitals to provide community benefit in exchange for federal tax-exempt status to “promote health…so the community as a whole benefits.” Increasing access to care for low- and moderate-income families through financial assistance (charity care) is one of the most basic forms of community benefit. But community benefit can also help address broader issues that impact health outside the hospital’s four walls such as investing in prevention and addressing the economic, environmental and social factors that can impact our health.

New federal requirements in the Affordable Care Act include community benefit mandates for non-profit hospitals. One component mandates that non-profit hospitals conduct a community health needs assessment (CHNA) and implementation plan at least every three years. Community Catalyst works with partners around the country to ensure hospitals are engaging the communities they serve—particularly the most vulnerable and disenfranchised—in these processes so hospital community benefit programs reflect and target the priorities and needs of the communities they serve.

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