Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist today reported that it provided community benefits − charity care, unreimbursed care, education, research and community outreach programs and services − valued at $611.2 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021. This includes community benefits provided throughout the Wake Forest Baptist system and is $15 million more than last year, which was a record high at $596.2 million.
“As the global COVID-19 pandemic continued to affect our institution and the communities we serve, I was so inspired to see how our physicians, faculty, advanced practice providers, staff, students and the community came together, going above and beyond, to care for each other and those who count on us,” said Julie Ann Freischlag, M.D., CEO of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, dean of Wake Forest University School of Medicine and chief academic officer of Atrium Health.
“Our researchers and scientists led and contributed to clinical trials to measure the prevalence of COVID-19, help develop a safe and effective vaccine and find new treatments for critically ill patients, and numerous faculty members provided guidance, encouragement and timely information to our region, our state and our nation.
“We joined with our community partners and other health systems and developed innovative ways to increase access to COVID-19 vaccinations, testing and treatments, including in historically marginalized populations and those who live in underserved rural and urban areas throughout our region.
“In addition, we helped improve stroke care for even more people across our state, worked with local paramedics to improve prehospital care in rural areas, reopened our free DEAC clinic, expanded our efforts to help families struggling with food insecurity, and our faculty continued their amazing and groundbreaking research to help improve the health of babies, children and adults.”
Unreimbursed care. Wake Forest Baptist provided $393.1 million in estimated unreimbursed care in FY21, a $1.1 million decrease over the previous year.
Charity care. Wake Forest Baptist provided $57.8 million in charity care in FY21, a $2.9 million increase compared to the previous year. The increase was primarily due to an increase in patient volumes.
Education and research. In FY21, Wake Forest Baptist provided $125.3 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 $5.6 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: regenerative medicine, cancer, healthcare innovation, physiology & pharmacology, precision medicine, cancer biology, and clinical/translational science.
Community health improvement. In FY21, Wake Forest Baptist provided $25.3 million in community health initiatives, operations, and donations. This included the health system’s FaithHealth care initiatives, Brenner FIT program, athletic trainer programs in Forsyth, Davidson, Guilford, Yadkin, Wilkes, Alleghany, and Surry County 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.
Additionally, Wake Forest Baptist provided $9.7 million in subsidized operations for their 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).
Atrium Health 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 FY21, Wake Forest Baptist had $96.7 million in bad debt costs, an increase of $15.2 million over prior year.