Skiff Medical Center provided more than $3.3 million in community benefits to Jasper County in 2011, according to a recently completed assessment of the programs and services offered by Iowa hospitals by the Iowa Hospital Association.
Of that total, uncompensated care - which includes both charity care and bad debt - totaled $3,307,251 at Skiff Medical Center and $81,582 in free or discounted community benefits that the Newton hospital implemented to help Jasper County residents.
Community benefits are activities designed to improve health and increase access to health care, including such services and programs as health screenings, support groups, counseling, immunizations, nutritional services and transportation programs.
Statewide, the Iowa Hospital Association found that all 118 of Iowa's community hospitals provided community benefits last year valued at more than $1.4 billion, up 55 percent from four years before. Charity care statewide stoopd at $600 million, up 83 percent from the amount recorded in 2007.
Kirk Norris, president and CEO of the association, said the programs and services accounted for in the survey were implemented in direct response to the needs of individual communities, as well as entire counties and regions.
However, he said, the ability of Iowa's hospitals to respond to such needs is being hindered by the ongoing economic downturn, as well as huge losses put upon hospitals by Medicare and Medicaid totaling more than $274 million, a 5.8 percent increase from the year before.
Skiff Medical Center lost $754,039 to Medicaid in 2011. More than 60 percent of all hospital revenue in Iowa comes from Medicare and Medicaid.