Tomah Health is among Wisconsin hospitals and health care systems that provided nearly $2 billion in community benefits in fiscal year 2019. The figure is part of the recently released Wisconsin Hospital Association’s (WHA) 2020 Community Benefits Report that highlighted programs, services and activities across the state that hospitals contributed free, as well as the financial assistance they provided to patients.
Tomah Health chief financial officer Joe Zeps said the local health care facility provided approximately $6.6 million in community needs this past year. “Tomah Health is very committed to giving back to the communities that we serve,” Zeps said. “We know that a great deal of the success that we experience here at the hospital is due to the support of the community and we are excited to be able to demonstrate how we can pay a little bit of that back to the communities that we serve.”
Zeps said the benefit figure is significantly higher than the $5.6 million recorded a year ago. “This figure will likely increase to an even larger amount next year as we continue to incur costs related to COVID and vaccine coordination and administration,” Zeps said. “Tomah Health staff should take great pride in the investments that we make in taking care of the community, particularly within the context of how COVID has impact us over the last year.”
WHA officials said the report highlights the intangible benefits hospitals deliver to their communities through civic engagement, sharing stories from each WHA member hospital and health system relating to charity care, free clinics, hospital-supported initiatives and—new in this year’s report—fighting COVID-19. “Serving our communities well means going out of your way to help others, knowing that a greater cause is served when we look out for one another,” said WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding. “That is why Wisconsin’s health care providers naturally seek, create or otherwise take advantage of every opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the people they have the privilege of serving.”
WHA said this year’s report also recognized investments, programs and initiatives enacted by Wisconsin hospitals and health systems during a period of time that saw uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 throughout Wisconsin, which pushed the state’s health care system to its limits. “During the height of virus spread, hospitals and health systems provided critical assistance to the state’s testing efforts, administering COVID tests within their facilities and in drive through sites in their communities,” Borgerding said. “Wisconsin health care providers are again stepping up to play an important role in administering vaccines to their communities, demonstrating resilience, creativity and leadership that will help speed our state’s pandemic recovery. If Wisconsin’s hospitals did not take on these public health responsibilities, they may not be happening in some areas.”
Zeps added that the WHA report does an “outstanding job of demonstrating the important role that Wisconsin hospitals play in supporting health and wellness across the state.”
In 2013, under a new requirement of the Affordable Care Act, hospitals were required to complete a formal community health needs assessment in partnership with public health and other community partners to assess, address and prioritize community health needs.
In addition to the printed Community Benefits Report, WHA is introducing an interactive version of the report so that members and stakeholders can view ways hospitals and health systems are enhancing the quality of life in Wisconsin.
To View the Community Benefits Report, CLICK HERE