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Published on January 31, 2012

KishHealth System Focuses on Community Need, Totaling more than $67 Million

January 31, 2012

Illinois hospitals contributed annual community benefits of more than $4.6 billion in programs and services, according to the fifth annual report issued by the Illinois Hospital Association (IHA). Illinois Hospitals: Cornerstones of Health, Foundations of the Community focuses on how hospitals in Illinois respond to the evolving healthcare needs of patients in their communities as they strive to combat obesity and diabetes, lend a helping hand when needed, and enhance the services they provide in a multitude of ways.

KishHealth System’s obesity program is noted in the IHA publication. The $2 million, five-year health initiative addresses obesity in children and adults and its associated chronic illness, targeting populations served by Kishwaukee Community Hospital in DeKalb and Valley West Community Hospital in Sandwich.

“Starting with our free Know Your Numbers events throughout the region and continuing with programs in the schools, our Farmers Market voucher program for the low income, and our involvement with the ‘Pioneering Healthy Communities” effort, we are doing more than just raising awareness about the importance of healthier eating, more physical activity, and maintaining a sensible weight” said Kevin Poorten, KishHealth System president.

“Our goal is to change habits and get policies implemented that create a healthy environment for all socio-economic groups,” he said. “We want to keep people out of the hospital and improve quality of life by reducing the incidence of chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. It may take longer than five years, but the health system is committed to providing dollars, medical expertise and community leadership for this effort,” Poorten said.

During its 2011 fiscal year, KishHealth System contributed community benefits of more than $67 million in programs and services based on criteria established by the Illinois Community Benefits Act. The health system filed its annual community benefit report with the state in December. It shows:

  • $33.8 million was absorbed by our two hospitals because of underpayments by government-sponsored programs such as Medicare and Medicaid;
  • $15.5 million in health care services for patients who were unable to pay;
  • $3.5 million in free and discounted care at cost;
  • $1.5 million to educate new nurses and other medical professionals, to provide continuing education for physicians, and healthcare scholarships for future healthcare professionals;
  • $6.4 million to subsidize money-losing services (e.g. Community Cares Clinic Community Wellness, DeKalb County Hospice, Diabetes Education, Emergency Medical Services);
  • $260,000 in language assistance services;
  • $1.1 million in donations and volunteer work for community organizations and providing volunteer opportunities in our facilities;
  • $5.7 million in other community benefits such as wellness fairs, athletic training services to area high schools, Lifeline Helicopter service, recruiting physicians to meet community needs, and paying property and sales taxes when appropriate. 
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