The Catholic Health Association and VHA jointly released revised accounting guidelines for charity care and other community-benefit expenses, defining such expenses as money-losing or barely profitable services; services that likely would be discontinued based on "purely financial" reasoning; and services that respond to particular needs of vulnerable populations. Marketing, routine services and bad debt don't count, the organizations said. For example, baby-sitting classes and career fairs are legitimate "community health education" expenses, but classes offered to increase market share are not. The 48-page document also spells out how to itemize direct community-benefit costs, such as research, scholarships and losses on publicly insured patients, and how to calculate indirect costs. Read the document. -- by Melanie Evans
CHA, VHA revise community-benefit guidance
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