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New Resources Help Leverage Hospital Data to Improve Health Equity in Communities

December 06, 2017

New ‘Center to Advance Community Health and Equity’ and ‘Community Benefit Insight’ launched to guide local health investments

A new tool increases transparency in discovering how local hospitals support efforts to improve health and wellness in their communities, as mandated by the federal government. Community Benefit Insight (CBI) is a clearinghouse of data on how hospitals meet federal community benefit requirements.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires nonprofit hospitals and health systems in the United States to annually report their community benefit activities to maintain their tax-exempt status. These activities can include charitable services, preventive services, training for health professionals, research, and community health improvement initiatives in partnership with diverse community stakeholders.

The release of Community Benefit Insight coincides with the launch of the Center to Advance Community Health and Equity—or CACHE—an organization aimed at increasing alignment and impact of community efforts to improve population health. CACHE is housed at the Public Health Institute.

Experts at CACHE will use CBI to help stakeholders pinpoint community needs, identify duplicative efforts, and highlight potential collaborative projects between hospitals and community organizations. CBI and CACHE are supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

“Every year, nonprofit health systems report spending more than $60 billion on community benefits, yet there is still relatively little strategic alignment for that investment,” said Pamela Russo, MD, a senior program officer at RWJF. “These resources can provide the data-driven insights and evidence-based interventions to help health systems and community stakeholders use their investments to address community priorities and have a big impact locally—improving health outcomes and addressing health equity.”

CBI includes community benefit expenditures reported by tax-exempt hospitals from all 50 states and the District of Columbia on tax forms for 2010 through 2014. The tool includes data from the IRS, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the American Hospital Association.

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For more information, contact Natalie Talis: 202-868-4813

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 
For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working with others to build a national Culture of Health enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.

About CBI
Community Benefit Insight (CBI) is a comprehensive, searchable tool for community benefit data, enabling local organizations to assess how hospital resources are allocated. Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and developed by experts at RTI International, CBI is the first resource bringing together detailed, hospital level data to catalyze community dialogue. The tool includes community benefit expenditures as reported by tax-exempt hospitals from all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Visit www.communitybenefitinsight.org to begin searching for, and using, community-benefit spending data.

CACHE—the Center to Advance Community Health & Equity—is housed at the Public Health Institute and has expertise to help nonprofit hospitals, health systems, and other stakeholders translate date into better community investments. A team of health experts, advocates, funders, and community members came together, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to develop CACHE. CACHE helps users interpret data from Community Benefit Insight, and couple it with existing tools and resources for strategic community benefit implementation. Visit http://www.thecachecenter.org/ to learn more.