Wake Forest Baptist Health today reported that it provided community benefits − charity care, unreimbursed care, education, research and community outreach programs and services − valued at $450.6 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018. This includes community benefits provided throughout the Wake Forest Baptist Health system, with the exception of High Point.
This is $76.7 million more than last year, which was $373.9 million. The increase represents the addition of Wilkes Medical Center ($23 million) and the legacy Cornerstone physicians group ($12 million) as well as an increase in patient volumes and improvements in qualifying patients for charity care.
“As our academic health care system grows, we reach more people in the Triad and in our surrounding communities than ever before,” said Julie Ann Freischlag, M.D., CEO of Wake Forest Baptist Health and dean of Wake Forest School of Medicine. “We look for innovative ways to bring better health to our communities where they are most needed.
“Whether this means taking the Kohl’s Cooks mobile kitchen, offered through Brenner FIT (Families in Training), to communities for interactive healthy cooking classes, showing local middle and high school students how science, technology and math could be in their career plans, providing transportation to patients for medical visits or subsidizing care at the Downtown Health Plaza, which saw 60,877 patient visits last year,” said Freischlag, “we are there for those who need us.”
Unreimbursed care. Wake Forest Baptist provided $254.5 million in estimated unreimbursed care in FY18, a $55.2 million increase over the previous year. This increase is primarily due to significant increases in the non-reimbursed costs of treating patients covered by Medicare, Medicaid and other governmental programs and the addition of Wilkes Medical Center and the legacy Cornerstone physicians group.
Charity care. Wake Forest Baptist provided $65.5 million in charity care in FY18, an $8.7 million increase over the previous year. This was largely due to improvements in qualifying patients for charity care, under Wake Forest Baptist’s financial assistance policy, and health care exchanges.
Education and research. In FY18, Wake Forest Baptist provided $108 million in education funding for medical students and other health care professionals and in research funding not covered by outside sources. This is approximately $600,000 less than the prior year.
Community health improvement. Last fiscal year Wake Forest Baptist provided $15.9 million in community health initiatives, operations and donations. This included our FaithHealth care initiatives, high school athletic training programs, pastoral care counseling through our CareNet network, free medication to those who qualified for charity care, increased community donations, our Brenner FIT programs and our partnership with Novant Health at the Highland Avenue Primary Care Clinic. The $6.7 million subsidized operations for our Downtown Health Plaza health programs plus the Bethesda and Southside health clinics and transportation, amount to a total of $22.6 million, which is $13.4 million more than the previous year.
Wake Forest Baptist reports its community benefits annually as required by the North Carolina Medical Care Commission, an agency of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Health Service Regulation.
The Commission does not require information about bad debt incurred through uncollected fees for services performed. In FY18, Wake Forest Baptist had $49.6 million in bad debt costs.
Additional information about Wake Forest Baptist’s community benefits report is available online at http://www.wakehealth.edu/Letter-From-Our-Chief-Executive-Officer.htm and http://www.wakehealth.edu/Community-Financial-Support/.