The Provision and Reporting of Community Benefits by Hospitals: Lessons from Maryland

The researchers examined factors at the hospital and community level that underlie variations in the amount of hospitals’ charity care and other community benefit activities. Through a series of interviews and quantitative analysis the researchers provided a critical account of the practical realities, advantages, and disadvantages of Maryland’s experience providing and reporting on not-for-profit hospitals’ charitable activities. The Maryland approach is a working public model of the acclaimed Catholic Heath Association’s (CHA) guidelines that measure and document the charity care it provides to communities. The researchers developed benchmarks for the amount and variation of charity care and other community benefit activities. The objective of the study was to provide policymakers evidence-based information as they make decisions about requirements for hospitals’ provision of charity care, as well as the accountability of nonprofit hospitals.