SAN DIEGO – Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego and Mercy Clinic devoted $79.8 million to local community benefit programs and services during fiscal year 2008, according to their recently released 2009 Community Benefit Plan & Report.
While the largest portion of the community benefit efforts went toward uncompensated care, Scripps Mercy Hospital and its Mercy Clinic also invested in programs to train new physicians, provide nutrition education to families of diverse cultures, perform reconstructive surgery on children in need and offer health and fitness programs to senior citizens.
“Scripps is proud of our commitment to enhance the health and well being of San Diego’s communities,” said Tom Gammiere, the hospital’s chief executive. “These community benefit programs are real-life examples of Scripps Mercy’s 119-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.”
Uncompensated care represented the largest portion of community benefit contributions by Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego and Mercy Clinic in 2008, totaling $73.6 million. Uncompensated care includes four elements: under-reimbursed care (under-payment from third-party payers, which accounted for $41.9 million); charity care (care for those who don’t qualify for government payer programs and don’t have commercial insurance, which totaled $16.9 million); bad debt (failure to pay by patients whose health care has not been classified as charity care, which accounted for $6.3 million); and emergency room coverage (costs paid by Scripps to ensure physicians are on call, which totaled $8.4 million). Scripps also contributed funds to meet the post-discharge needs of patients.
Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego also invested $3.9 million in professional education and research activities, with the majority devoted to its graduate medical education (GME) program. As a major teaching hospital, Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego provides a primary site for the clinical education of more than 70 residents a year, as well as a secondary training site for residents from other local hospitals. Residents from Scripps Mercy Hospital’s GME program also train at Mercy Clinic, which provides services for more than 20,000 people annually who would otherwise have no access to health care.
Additionally, Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego and Mercy Clinic invested $2.3 million toward a wide range of community-based health improvement activities. These included the Mercy Outreach Surgical Team (MOST), which provides reconstructive surgeries to individuals (mostly children) with physical deformities. Scripps also provided hands-on nutritional education to more than 5,000 residents through the City Heights Wellness Center teaching kitchen. Additional programs focused on senior health and fitness, mental health outreach services and substance abuse education.
In addition to the financial community benefit contributions made during fiscal year 2008, employees and physicians affiliated with Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego and Mercy Clinic donated more than 18,200 hours of volunteer time to support Scripps-sponsored community benefit programs. Overall, the 2008 contributions by Scripps Mercy Hospital and Mercy Clinic represent an increase of approximately 17 percent from fiscal year 2007.
Scripps Health’s 2009 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.
Founded in 1924 by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, Scripps Health is a $2 billion nonprofit community health system based in San Diego, Calif. Scripps treats a half-million patients annually through the dedication of 2,600 affiliated physicians and 12,700 employees among its five acute-care hospital campuses, home health care services, and an ambulatory care network of clinics, physician offices and outpatient centers. Recognized as a leader in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, Scripps is also at the forefront of clinical research and graduate medical education. In 2008, Scripps committed more than $150 million in capital and facility improvements across the San Diego region while providing significant charity care to the community – more than $268 million in uncompensated care in 2008. Scripps Health Foundation generated $46 million in charitable donations in 2008 to support the Scripps mission.
Scripps Health includes: Scripps Green Hospital, Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas, Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, two Scripps Mercy Hospital campuses, 10 Scripps Clinic locations, nine Scripps Coastal Medical Center locations, Scripps Home Health Care and Scripps Clinical Research.