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Via Christi Health

Via Christi Health provided $82 million in community benefit
WICHITA, KAN. (Feb. 22, 2012) – Via Christi Health contributed $82 million in community benefit in fiscal year 2011 to the communities it serves in Kansas and northeast Oklahoma. The total includes $45.3 million in traditional charity care, nearly $19.8 million in unreimbursed costs of Medicaid services and $16.9 million worth of other community benefit services. Via Christi provided more than $72 million in community benefit in Wichita.

In reporting its community benefit, Via Christi Health follows the guidelines set by the Catholic Health Association which calls for all Community Benefit numbers to be reported at cost, not charges. Bad debt (unpaid or uncollectible bills) and unpaid costs of Medicare services are not included. The CHA guidelines are nearly identical to guidelines set by the American Hospital Association and the Internal Revenue Service for reporting Community Benefit. The AHA and the IRS allow for including bad debt and unpaid costs of Medicare services and with this methodology Via Christi Health’s community benefit would equal $96.5 million.

“The business community, our elected officials and individuals are calling for greater accountability and transparency,” says Lynnette RauvolaBouta, senior vice president, Mission Integration. “This is why we report the amount of our Community Benefit in accordance with prescribed national standards.”

In addition to Via Christi Health’s traditional charity care for patients who qualify for discounted or free care and unpaid costs of Medicaid services, the health system’s community benefit in FY 2011 included:
  • Nearly $1.2 million in subsidized health services provided by our specialty and family practice clinics, our behavioral health services facilities and other subsidized health services
  • $12.7 million to train physicians, nurses and other health professionals
  • $2.9 million in other community benefit services such as support of community clinics, health screenings, research, community building activities and donations of space to community organizations
“Providing Community Benefit is part of Via Christi Health’s Mission of serving as a healing presence with special concern for our neighbors who are vulnerable,” explains RauvolaBouta.

Community benefits must meet at least one of the following criteria: improve access to health services, enhance community health, advance medical knowledge and demonstrate charitable purpose. Via Christi provides community benefit by responding to needs of special populations, such as minorities, frail elderly, poor persons with disabilities, the chronically mentally ill, and persons with AIDS; or supply services or programs that would likely be discontinued if the decision were made on a purely financial basis.

Examples of Via Christi’s community benefit in Wichita include:
  • Charity care and unpaid costs of providing Medicaid services provided at Via Christi’s hospitals and clinics.
  • Health professions education such as physicians in training, laboratory technicians, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, radiology technicians, certified nursing assistants and social services workers. For example, Via Christi Hospitals support the seventh largest graduate medical education program in the country. The program produces physicians who work in three out of four Kansas counties.
  • Support of community medical clinics, health screenings and other community health programs.