Scripps Health devoted $214.5 million to local community benefit programs and services during fiscal year 2006, according to the non-profit health system’s recently released 2007 Community Benefit Plan & Report.
While the largest portion of its community benefit efforts went toward uncompensated care, Scripps also invested in programs to train new physicians, provide health screenings for the underserved, offer wellness services for seniors, deliver care to the homeless and address other important community needs.
“Scripps is proud of our commitment to help improve the collective health and vitality of San Diego’s communities,” said Chris Van Gorder, president and CEO of Scripps Health." These community benefit programs are tangible examples of our 83-year legacy and charitable mission. In particular, our programs serve to support and protect vulnerable or disadvantaged populations, which in turn helps raise the quality of life in the communities we serve."
The 2006 contributions represent an increase of approximately 20 percent from fiscal year 2005, when Scripps invested $172.6 million in community benefit programs and services. Scripps delivers its community benefit activities in three areas: uncompensated care, professional education and research, and community-based health improvements.
Uncompensated care represented the largest portion of Scripps’ community benefit contributions in 2006, totaling $195.3 million. Uncompensated care includes four elements: under-reimbursed care (under-payment from third-party payers, which accounted for $135.2 million); charity care (care for those who don’t qualify for government payer programs and don’t have commercial insurance, which totaled $26.4 million); bad debt (failure to pay by patients whose health care has not been classified as charity care, which accounted for $20.7 million); and emergency room coverage (costs paid by Scripps to ensure physicians are on call, which totaled $13 million).
Scripps also invested $14.8 million in professional education and research in fiscal year 2006, the majority of which went toward Scripps’ graduate medical education (GME) programs. The GME programs at Scripps Mercy Hospital’s San Diego and Chula Vista campuses received $7.6 million while another $5.4 million went toward the GME program at Scripps Clinic/Scripps Green Hospital. Scripps also provided a wide array of educational and training support to its affiliated physicians, nurses and other care givers, as well as the community at large.
In addition, Scripps invested $4.4 million in community-based health improvement activities, including prevention, education and wellness programs, as well as screenings and support groups. Key activities included childhood obesity and diabetes prevention programs for underserved communities; reconstructive surgeries to children in need; cancer screenings and imaging services to low-income residents; health services to the homeless at St. Vincent de Paul Village; and a health and wellness program for seniors. Scripps Health also awarded $288,800 in community grants to nine programs (ranging from $15,000 to $50,000), with most going to programs in the south and central regions of San Diego County.
In addition to the financial community benefit contributions made during fiscal year 2006, Scripps Health employees and affiliated physicians collectively volunteered more than 35,000 hours of their personal time to support Scripps-sponsored community benefit programs.
Scripps Health’s 2007 Community Benefit Plan & Report was developed in response to Senate Bill 697, passed in 1994, requiring the state’s community, private not-for-profit hospitals to document the full range of community benefits they provide on an annual basis. Scripps has taken this legislative requirement a step further by incorporating community benefit activities conducted from throughout the system, including Scripps’ five acute-care hospital campuses, home health care services, wellness centers and clinics. Scripps’ community benefit programs and services include activities that provide benefit to the community over and above the standard practices of care.