Subsidized Health Services $2,155,000 (Services that are provided at a financial loss to the organization but are needed by the community. Some of these services include the Max W. Pohle Dental Clinic, NewStart, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and more.)
Financial & In-Kind Contributions $613,882 (Financial and In-Kind contributions as well as staff time to support health improvement activities)
Community Building Activities $25,196 (Support and involvement in activities and programs to increase the safety, security and economic health of the community)
Community Benefit Operations $80,485 (Cost of maintaining community benefit programming and support)
Financial Assistance/Charity Care $6,672,349 (Cost of free or discounted health services provided to those who cannot afford to pay and meet specific financial assistance criteria)
Government Sponsored Health Care $22,066,438 (Costs related to Government health programs such as Medicaid programs)
Giving Back to Our Community
In 2012, Meriter was a part of an extraordinary collaboration to conduct a countywide Community Health Needs Assessment. This assessment, done in conjunction with three other Dane County hospitals (St. Mary's Hospital, Stoughton Hospital and UW Hospital & Clinics) and Public Health Madison and Dane County, has allowed all entities to focus and refine efforts to improve the health of the community. While this Assessment is required under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, collaboration is not mandatory. However, we all knew that we could work together to create something outstanding for our community. Through our combined efforts and with our vendor Healthy Communities Institute, we were able to create a web-based tool for everyone to use. The site, known as HealthyDane.org, gives everyone access to data, best practices and opportunities for additional community partnerships so that Dane County can become a healthier community for all.
Our health needs assessment is just one example of the kinds of partnerships and collaborations we participate in every single day. We create a healthier community through our work with organizations like REAP, an effort to bring healthy, food options to more people. We work with the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality to provide our patients with better outcomes. We align with organizations like the Wisconsin Dental Association and Madison Dental Initiative so that more patients have access to free dental care.
These relationships allow us to make a larger and more significant contribution to the health of Dane County. In 2012, Meriter's investment exceeded $38.7 million, which includes financial assistance, community health education, financial support and much more. We are proud of the difference these funds are making in our community. In this report, you will be able to read about some of the lives behind these dollars and how Meriter played a role in helping people improve their opportunities for health, find a way through a challenging time, or were there when there seemed to be no hope. Meriter was there to help these people move forward -- to become healthier and better able to face tomorrow.
"Meriter Saved My Life -- Twice!"
One night, Richardson began experienced terrible abdominal pain.
"It just kept getting worse. Finally, at my wife's urging, I went to the emergency room at Meriter," Richardson recalls. He arrived just in time. His severely inflamed appendix was ready to burst and he underwent emergency surgery. After Richardson was home and healing, he learned that his health insurance would not cover the whole bill.
"I didn't know what to do. I am an international graduate student so I only have a student visa. The bill was far larger than my monthly stipend and our savings. Luckily, Meriter's financial assistance staff helped me establish a payment plan and we were able to keep up with everything." Then, Richardson's stipend was cut. "Things were looking very bad for me. I was very stressed. In Ghana, owing money is not acceptable so not being able to pay a bill is even worse. If I had defaulted on this loan, it would have affected my sense of self, my visa status, and my ability to finish my academic work. There were so many bad things that could happen, things that would affect the rest of our lives. Richardson once again contacted Meriter's financial assistance staff and readjusted his payment schedule.
"One day, I received a call that the remaining balance on my bill had been waived. This was my best day in America! Meriter saved my life twice, once when they took out my appendix and twice when they granted financial assistance."
Finding the Link to Better Health
Meriter's HEALTH program provides a myriad of services to those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. HEALTH, or Helping Educate and Link the Homeless, began after Dr. Cate Ranheim, a Meriter Hospitalist, realized she was seeing numerous patients she knew to be homeless and were hospitalized for preventable concerns. Dr. Ranheim developed an intervention program that reaches out to the homeless and transitionally housed community, by visiting area shelters and meal sites. The program also grew to have a permanent site near St. Vincent DePaul.
Staff at Porchlight's Safe Haven program describe the HEALTH program as an integral part to serving the community.
"Our clients must have a documented mental illness before we can provide services. And, it can be a challenge to get that diagnosis," recounts Kim Hill, Safe Haven's Homeless Support Specialist and Case Manager. "The HEALTH program has made this connection happen for many people. They are helping people get to us; they have been able to reach people that no one else could. HEALTH is our partner in providing care; they are the link that had been missing." While the residential program at Safe Haven always has a waiting list, others are able to participate in a day program that includes a psychiatric clinic and group therapy sessions. Glen Ruiz, a Safe Haven Program Assistant, has been amazed at the number of connections HEALTH has made in the community, "they truly are lifesavers."