NJHA report: N.J. hospitals are anchors to the communities they serve

The New Jersey Hospital Association on Tuesday released two studies focusing on how hospitals are the anchors of their communities, providing more than $24.7 billion in contributions to New Jersey economy as well as $3.2 billion to promote community wellness.

NJHA’s 2020 Economic Impact Report and 2020 Community Benefit Report include data from 2018 on the economic and community benefits of the state’s hospitals.

“The health of New Jersey residents relies on both the economic underpinnings of good jobs and economic investments, along with commitment to community programs and social determinants of health,” Cathy Bennett, CEO and president of NJHA, said. “New Jersey hospitals provide both, in abundance. They are anchor institutions that support the well-being of communities all across our state.”

The 2020 EIR gathered 2018 data from New Jersey’s acute care hospitals. Key findings include:

  • New Jersey hospitals spent $24.7 billion in 2018, an increase of more than $1 billion from 2017’s $23.6 billion;
  • Those expenditures included $3.7 billion in goods and services purchased from other businesses;
  • New Jersey hospitals pay more than $9 billion in salaries.

The 2020 CBR gathered data from nonprofit hospitals. The $3.2 billion in total to promote wellness for 2018 was more than 2017’s $2.8 billion. Key findings include:

  • The largest category, which totals $2 billion, is comprised of free and discounted care, including $370 million in charity care; $314 million in unpaid costs caring for Medicaid beneficiaries; $135 million in unpaid costs caring for Medicaid beneficiaries; and $1.2 billion in unpaid, uncollectable patient care costs, or “bad debt.”
  • N.J. hospitals spent $61.3 million toward community health improvement services, such as immunization clinics, health screenings and fitness programs;
  • $260.7 million to train the next generation of health care professionals;
  • $880.7 million in other community benefits, including voluntary contributions, medical research and subsidized health services.

“Hospitals make sizeable contributions to their communities. In fact, looking at these two reports side by side shows that hospitals’ community benefit contributions represent 13% of their total economic activity,” Sean Hopkins, senior vice president of NJHA’s Center for Health Analytics, Research and Transformation, said.