As community-owned or private entities that exist solely to serve the health care needs of their communities, Tennessee not-for-profit hospitals have a long history of providing charity care and community benefit programs that, in many cases, far exceed the value of their tax-exemptions.
Community benefits are clinical or non-clinical programs or activities providing treatment and/or promoting health and healing that are responsive to identified community needs, not provided for marketing purposes. Community benefits meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Generate a low or negative margin
- Respond to needs of special populations, such as minorities, frail elderly, poor persons with disabilities, chronically mentally ill, and other disenfranchised persons.
- Supply services or programs that would likely be discontinued (or would need to be provided by another not-for-profit or government provider) if the decision were made on a purely financial basis.
- Involve education or research that improves overall community health.