Most hospitals in America are engines of economic development. However, not all are equal in their community benefit.
The economic impact of a hospital is felt locally through direct spending on such things as payroll, purchase of goods and services, and the financing of new construction. A hospital also exerts indirect economic impact as a magnet for other businesses that benefit from close proximity to such a dynamic and multi-faceted endeavor.
In addition, hospitals inevitably bring a significant "community benefit" to the communities they serve. This is a specific industry term that describes a range of activities that not only enhance the availability of healthcare services but enrich a community's overall quality of life.
Included in community benefit are the costs of financial assistance and discounts extended to uninsured patients, and underwriting services that fulfill vital needs but do not pay for themselves, including community clinics, research and education. Community benefit also includes the value of in-kind contributions by healthcare personnel.