Community benefit

Spectrum Health cares for every patient, regardless of the ability to pay. As a not-for-profit health system, we invest in improving patient care, building and renovating facilities, purchasing new technology, providing health education and funding community programs. In addition, we provide millions of dollars in community benefit to West Michigan every year. For our calendar year 2020*, the amount totaled more than $542 million.

  • Community Partnership Programs (Community Commitment Fund): $8,223,000
  • Additional Community Partnership Programs: $12,113,000
  • Health Clinics: $3,498,000
  • Health Professions Education: $26,039,000
  • Research: $1,469,000
  • Donations and Contributions: $1,241,000
  • Traditional Charity Care: $9,178,000
  • Discounted Care (under 250 percent federal poverty level): $11,444,000
  • Unpaid Cost for Government Program Patients: $469,278,000 

Total community benefit expense: $542,483,000

*January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020

See definitions for each line item below:

Community Partnership Programs (Community Commitment Fund): This includes health care programs for the underserved in the community, including services such as community-based clinics, immunizations and preventative care, and health education programs. Examples include programs related to the poor, elderly, substance abuse, child abuse and others with specific health care needs. They also include broader populations who benefit from health community initiatives, such as health promotion, education, and health screening. The Community Commitment Fund relates to Spectrum Health's established $6 million fund, as part of the Consent Decree, to provide quality health care programs for the underserved in the community. The remaining programs are funded through operations.

Additional Community Partnership Programs: This includes efforts such as translation services, diabetes education, wellness programs, and case worker support in patient financial services to help indigent and medically underserved individuals.

Health Clinics: This represents the net costs to operate community clinics that are offered at no cost or at a subsidized cost.

Health Professions Education: This represents the cost to provide a clinical setting for undergraduate training and internships in order to help prepare future health professionals.

Research: This includes the unpaid cost of health care research and studies.

Donations and Contributions: This includes cash and in-kind donations that are made on behalf of the poor and needy to community agencies and to special funds for charitable activities. It also includes resources contributed directly to programs, organizations and foundations for efforts on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged.

Traditional Charity Care: Charity care covers services provided to anyone who cannot afford to pay for it. It is determined based on established policies, using a patient's income and assets to determine his or her ability to pay. This amount reflects the cost of free or discounted health services, net contributions and other revenue received as direct assistance for the provision of charity care.

Discounted Care (under 250 percent federal poverty level): Discounted care represents the amount of the state of Michigan mandated discounts provided for the uninsured based on financial need. The hospital must accept 115 percent Medicare rates as payments in full from an uninsured individual with an annual income level up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level.

Unpaid Cost of Government Program Patients: This represents the estimated "shortfall" created when a facility receives payments below the costs of treating Medicare and Medicaid patients.