Spectrum Health Provides $111 Million in Community Benefit

$84 Million is Spent on Medicaid and Medicare Shortfalls

Spectrum Health provided $111.1 million in community benefit to West Michigan during its 2008 fiscal year (FY). Spectrum Health’s community benefit contribution has grown significantly from $15.5 million in 1997, the year of its inception.

The majority of this amount, $84.1 million, reflects uncompensated Medicaid and Medicare funding. Spectrum Health’s community benefit is also comprised of $27 million for community outreach and health improvement programs.

The overall community benefit for FY08 is $12.5 million greater than in the previous year as a result of an increase in uncompensated Medicaid and Medicare funding. Funding for community outreach and health improvement programs increased $2.7 million in 2008.

The reported community benefit has significantly increased since 2002 as shown below:
FY 2002 – $40.6 million
FY 2003 – $50.7 million
FY 2004 – $72 million
FY 2005 – $87.7 million
FY 2006 – $100.7 million
FY 2007 – $98.6 million
FY 2008 – $111.1 million

“Spectrum Health is proud to serve the community by providing access to high quality, low cost care to all who seek our services,” said Richard C. Breon, Spectrum Health President & CEO. “As a not-for-profit organization, we support services that are needed in the region, such as our air ambulance service Aero Med as well as community outreach programs and clinics.”

As part of the community benefit, Spectrum Health dedicates $6 million annually to its Healthier Communities department. Created in 1997, Healthier Communities focuses on removing barriers to care, collaborating with not-for-profit agencies, raising awareness about community health issues and helping people to develop healthier lifestyles. Last year, Healthier Communities programs provided nearly 182,000 service encounters.

“Spectrum Health cares for all who come through our doors. We are the largest provider of indigent care in West Michigan,” Breon said. “Finding ways to deliver care to people in their neighborhoods before they require a trip to the emergency department is important, which is why we have partnered with several groups working toward the same goal.”

The majority of Spectrum Health’s community benefit dollars continue to be spent on making up the shortfall in government funding for Medicaid and Medicare patients. For every $1 of Medicaid care provided, Spectrum Health is paid just 74 cents. For every $1 of Medicare care provided, it is paid 94 cents.

Medicaid and Medicare shortfalls have more than tripled for Spectrum Health since 2001, when the underfunding resulted in a loss of $24 million. This year it accounted for $84.1 million of the $111.1 million in community benefit.

For detailed information about Spectrum Health’s community benefit contribution, visit

Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system in West Michigan that offers a full continuum of care through its seven hospitals, more than 140 service sites and Priority Health, a health plan with nearly 500,000 members. Spectrum Health’s 14,000 employees, 1,500 medical staff members and 2,000 volunteers are committed to delivering the highest quality care to those in medical need. The organization provided $111.1 million in community benefit during its 2008 fiscal year. As a system, Spectrum Health has earned more than 100 awards during the past 10 years.