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 $596.2 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020. This includes community benefits provided throughout the Wake Forest Baptist Health system and is $15.4 million more than last year, which was a record high at $580.8 million.
“Despite the unprecedented challenges we faced from the COVID-19 pandemic, our faculty, staff and students stepped up and made incredible sacrifices to make sure we did all we could to meet the needs of our community, and I could not be more proud of them and what we were able to accomplish together,” said Julie Ann Freischlag, M.D., CEO of Wake Forest Baptist Health, dean of Wake Forest School of Medicine and chief academic officer of Atrium Health Enterprise.
“We were able to continue to provide compassionate care to all of our patients, while training our students and encouraging those in our community during very uncertain times, and we are grateful to the many members of our community who participated in research studies to track the prevalence of COVID-19.
“Local college and high school student-athletes benefited from our expanded sports medicine and athletic training programs, some of our most vulnerable neighbors were able to better manage their health through free screenings and prescription medications, underserved neighborhoods received convenient access to health care through our Mobile Health Clinic, and our patients, their loved ones and others in the community saw their spiritual and emotional needs met in times of incredible need.”
Unreimbursed care. Wake Forest Baptist Health provided $394.2 million in estimated unreimbursed care in FY20, a $20.2 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.
Charity care. Wake Forest Baptist Health provided $54.8 million in charity care in FY20, an $18 million decrease compared to the previous year. The decrease was primarily due to a change in the charity care policy effective September 1, 2018.
Education and research. In FY20, Wake Forest Baptist Health provided $119.7 million in education funding for medical students and other health care professionals and in research funding not covered by outside sources. This amount represents an increase of $7.6 million over the previous year and is due to increased faculty effort in basic science instruction as well as increased research expenses in the following areas: neurobiology, comparative medicine, physiology/pharmacology science, obstetrics & gynecology, and cardiovascular medicine, and internal medicine.
Community health improvement. In FY20, Wake Forest Baptist Health provided $18.3 million in community health initiatives, operations and donations. This is an increase of $3.7 million over last year and included our FaithHealth care initiatives, Brenner FIT program, athletic trainer programs in Forsyth, Davidson, Guilford, Yadkin and Wilkes County high schools, pastoral care counseling through CareNet network, physicians’ community health access, community donations, direct patient assistance (including free prescription drugs), rapid response team, hospice/palliative care services, and COVID-19 related costs.
In addition, Wake Forest Baptist Health provided $9.2 million in subsidized operations for our Downtown Health Plaza health program, the Bethesda and Southside health clinics, School Health Alliance initiative, supportive care and behavioral health service lines, patient transportation, and other direct patient assistance, including skilled nursing.
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 FY20, Wake Forest Baptist had $81.5 million in bad debt costs, an increase of $16.4 million over prior year. This increase was primarily due to a change in the charity care policy effective September 1, 2018.