In 2010, nonprofit hospitals in the US spent a median of $86,677 on community-building activities like housing, economic development, workforce and leadership development, coalition building, and advocacy efforts, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
But between 2010 and 2019, that figure dropped to $123,789, a decrease of almost 50%, according to a press release.
The study's lead author, Dr. Nancy Avis, says the drop shows hospitals aren't investing enough in communities they're supposed to serve.
"The bottom line is, if you’re a hospital, you’re supposed to care for patients, but you’re also supposed to care for your community," Avis tells the New York Times.
"So if you’re not investing in the communities you’re supposed to be in, you’re not doing a good job of actually improving the communities you’re in."
A 2010 Affordable Care Act mandate requires hospitals to identify community health needs and make investments in those needs.
But while 70% of nonprofit hospitals identified " upstream social determinants of health" as a significant community health need, they "do not appear to be shifting investments toward these activities," according to the study.
Avis says it's important for policymakers to
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