Good Samaritan Medical Center provided nearly $5 million in community benefits last fiscal year, according to reports published earlier in June by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office. The hospital reported total community benefit expenditures of $4,822,927, including free or discounted care provided directly to patients and many programs throughout its service area which encompasses 22 communities including Brockton, Easton, Stoughton, Bridgewater, Avon, Whitman, Abington, Randolph, Middleboro and Taunton.
The community service programs include Behavioral Health initiatives targeted at stemming the opioid overdose crisis with participation on the Opioid Task Force and Drug Court as well as providing comprehensive addiction recovery and detox at Norcap Lodge in Foxboro. Continued Diabetes Prevention efforts including a successful farmer’s market voucher program in conjunction with nutrition and wellness classes; and, providing a Community Health Worker located at Brockton Neighborhood Health Center to assist patients with obtaining proper insurance coverage, linking patients to Primary Care Physicians, assisting with appointment scheduling and reminders to keep appointments.
“All of our Community Benefits initiatives help patients better navigate and access the healthcare system,” said John Jurczyk, President of Good Samaritan Medical Center. “We conduct a needs assessment to provide data to identify the health priorities in the areas we serve. In addition, our Community Benefit Advisory Council meets four times a year to continuously evaluate our programs and emerging issues. The Council is comprised of
community members including BAMSI, Brockton Interfaith Council, Mainspring House, Harbor One, The Charity Guild and several others.”
“Massachusetts hospitals continue to display their commitment to serving the needs of their communities,” Attorney General Healey said in a June 2nd press release. “These programs are important resources to help identify and address the unmet needs of underserved and at-risk populations.”
The Community Benefits Mission Statement at Good Samaritan Medical Center states a commitment to collaborating with community partners to improve the health status of community residents. They accomplish that by; addressing root causes of health disparities; educating community members around prevention and self care, particularly for chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and asthma; and, addressing the social determinants of health including substance abuse, behavioral health issues and homelessness.
Each hospital that filed a report this year addressed one or more of the four statewide health priorities identified in the AG’s Community Benefits Guidelines. Those statewide priorities include: supporting health care reform, improving chronic disease management in disadvantaged populations, reducing health disparities, and promoting wellness of vulnerable populations.
“The Community Benefits Program supports a key component of the mission of hospitals and health maintenance organizations (HMOs), which are both critical to the delivery of health care in communities across the state,” according to a statement. “AG Healey’s Community Benefits Guidelines encourage hospitals and HMOs to build upon their commitment to address unmet community health needs by formalizing their approach to planning for annual benefits, collaborating with community representatives in developing programs, and filing annual reports with the attorney general’s office on their efforts.”
All non-profit hospitals are required to provide community benefits; however, Good Samaritan Medical Center, part of the Steward Health Care System, provides the same level of community benefits as non-profit hospitals as well as pays real estate taxes to the City of Brockton. In 2014, the taxes topped $2.8 million, which makes Good Samaritan Medical Center one of the largest taxpayers and employers in the region. The Medical Center’s tax contribution helps support the salaries of 45 teachers, police officers and firefighters.
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