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Webinar on Community Benefit

By Deborah Clark, Leader of the Healthy Communities COI

Recently, the Healthy Communities COI hosted a webinar to discuss ways libraries could assist their institutions in meeting IRS “community benefit” filing requirements. Per the Affordable Care Act, non-profit hospitals must now conduct community health needs assessments at least every three years and document what types of eligible community benefits they provide to meet identified community health needs. These programs and services can include:
• Charity care, unreimbursed Medicare & Medicaid costs, and other financial assistance
• Building improvements
• Community coalition building and leadership development
• Community health improvement activities, professional education, and research

Any programs and services a hospital wishes to document as community benefit must meet these criteria:
• They address an identified community need
• They support the hospital’s community-based mission
• They are designed to improve health
• They produce a measurable community benefit
• They require hospital subsidy to be maintained

Examples of activities libraries can sponsor to contribute to their hospital’s community benefit:
• Supporting educational activities
• Offering community outreach programs
• Assisting with community needs assessment
• Connecting people with hospital-subsidized financial aid and support services
• Participating in coalition building
• Responding to health information needs of disadvantaged and underserved populations
• Responding to public health needs

Some helpful online resources related to developing a sustainable community benefits program, including how to document and report on qualifying activities may be found at:

Association for Community Health Improvement

Assessing and Addressing Community Health Needs from the Catholic Health Association
Tracking Your Hospital’s Community Benefit Efforts New Jersey Hospital Assoc.)

IRS Form 990, Schedule H

Schedule H instructions

Here are some examples of Community Benefit Reports higlighting libraries:

MidState Medical Center Community Benefit Report

El Camino Hospital Community Benefit Report

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