Community criteria

Spectrum Health defines community benefit activity, based on industry guidance, as activities that include the following criteria:

  • Generates a low or negative margin
  • Responds to the needs of special populations, like the poor and needy
  • Supplies services or programs that would likely be discontinued or need to be offered by another not-for-profit organization or government provider if the decision was purely financial
  • Responds to public health needs
  • Involves education or research that improves the community's overall health
Low or negative margin
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For fiscal year 2010, Spectrum Health’s total margin before net unrealized gain on investments was 1.3%. In fiscal year 2011*, it is budgeted to be 2.3%. According to Moody’s Investors Service, systems with Aa ratings, like Spectrum Health, have averaged a total margin between 6.3% and 7.8% from 2000 to 2009. Spectrum Health’s total margin before net unrealized gain or loss on investments for 2000 to 2010 ranged from 0.6% to 5.5%.

Special populations
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Spectrum Health's goal is to empower vulnerable populations to be self-sufficient and improve their overall health. Our community benefit programs are tied to measurable goals, ranging from the number of student visits to community health workers to the number of low-income women who receive prenatal care.

Unprofitable services and programs
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Spectrum Health subsidizes many services for the region which are important to the community even though they are not profitable for Spectrum Health.

Public health needs
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Healthier Communities is one way Spectrum Health reaches out to its neighbors and the underserved-people whose demographic, economic or cultural characteristics hinder their access to health care or place them at risk for poor health outcomes. In 2013, our programs and services helped us connect more than 500,000 times with community members.

Medical education and research
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Research shows that prevention, early intervention and increased access to care can dramatically improve the health of individuals and significantly decrease overall health care costs. Healthier Communities removes barriers to care by partnering with local not-for-profit agencies and community health organizations, raises awareness about community health issues and helps people develop healthier lifestyles. Healthier Communities also promotes health education through a network of community classes and support groups. 

*July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010