What Can Be Learned from the Types of Community Benefit Programs that Hospitals Already Have in Place?
Abstract

After implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) how will tax-exempt hospitals adjust their community benefit programs to maintain their non-profit status? This literature review categorized existing hospital-based community benefit programs by reviewing published articles that met the following inclusion criteria: affiliated or funded by a hospital; described the program design; focused on community benefit or outreach; evaluated program outcomes; located within the United States. Of 4,917 original citations, we reviewed 265 full-text articles. One hundred and six (106) programs met all inclusion criteria and were used to develop a hospital-based community benefit program taxonomy. Results indicate that programs to enhance patient care, clinic-based programs and programs with a community partner make up the majority of community benefit programs (25%, 28% and 31%, respectively). Few programs were rigorously evaluated or provide evidence of program impact. Hospitals should work with public health professionals to design, implement, and evaluate their community benefit programs.


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