Tomah Memorial Hospital was among Wisconsin hospitals that provided a combined $1.8 billion in 2017 to support programs and services that affected the communities they serve.

The figure is part of the recently released Wisconsin Hospital Association’s 2018 Community Benefits Report that highlighted programs, services, and activities across the state that hospitals contributed free, as well as the financial assistance they provided to patients to ensure everyone can afford the treatment they need and deserve.

Tomah Memorial Hospital chief financial officer Joe Zeps said the local health care facility provided more than $6 million in benefits to Tomah and the surrounding communities.

“Our organization is very committed to giving back to the communities we serve, and the WHA’s annual report does an excellent job of demonstrating the important role that Wisconsin’s hospitals play in supporting health and wellness across our state,” Zeps said.

The activities ranged from providing free care to those unable to pay their bills, to sponsoring health improvement activities, health education, free screenings and working with partners on complex socioeconomic issues in the community.

“Wisconsin hospitals and health systems help address the critical, unmet health care needs of their neighbors, friends, and community, which ultimately leads to a healthier state overall,” said Eric Borgerding, WHA president and CEO. “Many of these services would not be possible without the support of Wisconsin hospitals and the dedicated health care professionals who donate their time. Simply put, our hospitals are Wisconsin’s health care safety net.”

WHA officials said hospitals and health systems ensure patients receive the care and treatment they need, even when they do not have the ability to pay, require emergency care they cannot otherwise afford, or when the hospital will not receive adequate reimbursement from the state Medicaid and federal Medicare programs for its services.

In 2013, under a new requirement of the Affordable Care Act, hospitals were required to complete a formal community health needs assessment in partnership with public health and other community partners to assess, address and prioritize community health needs.

Highlights of WHA’s 2018 Community Benefits Report are available at https://www.wha.org/DataandPublications/WHAreports.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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