MLK Community Hospital among only a small number of hospitals spending its “fair share” on community, according to a national report.
June 15, 2023 – A recent report from the Lown Insititute ranks MLK Community Hospital among the nation’s top 25 hospitals for their investment in community spending to provide free or discounted care and programs to address community health needs. The hospital, part of MLK Community Healthcare (MLKCH), provides a number of these types of programs and resources, including:
- Recipe for Health - a nutrition program for patients with diabetes and other complex conditions.
- Know Your Basics - free health education and screening.
- Man Up! - a men’s health program in collaboration with local barbershops.
- Street Medicine - a program to provide care to the unhoused, including frequent visitors to the MLKCH emergency department.
- Free comprehensive lactation support and education in their dedicated lactation clinic.
- DocGo- in-home provider follow-up and monitoring after hospital discharge.
- Patient transportation to medical appointments.
The Lown Institute, an independent healthcare think tank, found that MLK Community Hospital spent more on charity care and community investment than the estimated value of its tax exemption in 2020, giving the hospital what the Institute refers to as a “fair share” surplus.
Out of more than 1,700 nonprofit hospitals evaluated nationwide, MLK Community Hospital is one of only 413 to have a “fair share” surplus. According to Lown’s research, MLKCH spent $3.1 million more than the estimated value of their tax exemption on charity care and community investment.
The “surplus” is actually a loss of up to $30 million a year that the organization incurs serving the majority-Medicaid community in South LA. Low Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) reimbursement rates mean that the hospital and health system are not adequately reimbursed for the services they provide.
“This designation is a recognition of MLKCH’s deep commitment to the communities we serve” said MLK Community Healthcare and MLK Community Hospital Chef Executive Officer, Dr. Elaine Batchlor. “It’s also a testament to the inadequacy of our separate and unequal healthcare system that pays doctors more to treat the affluent and commercially-insured than to treat the low-income and publicly-insured.”
MLKCH uses innovative funding models and philanthropy to bridge the gap but ultimately, Batchlor says, policymakers need to raise Medi-Cal rates. As such, the Lown recognition is an accurate barometer of hospitals that are both going above and beyond for their communities and, consequently, most in need of funding support.
“The hospitals topping our list have proven they have what it takes to be great community partners,” said Vikas Saini, MD, president of the Lown Institute.
Learn more about MLKCH and its mission to provide high-quality care to the medically-underserved community of South LA at mlkch.org and follow us on social media @yourMLKCH.
About the report and the Lown Institute: Share Spending is one of many metrics on the Lown Institute Hospitals Index. The Lown Institute calculated fair share spending based on 2020 IRS Form 990 by comparing the estimated value of hospitals’ tax exemptions to the amount spent on financial assistance and meaningful community investment—including community health improvement activities, contributions to community groups, community building activities, and subsidized healthcare services. The Lown Hospitals Index for Social Responsibility is a signature project of the Lown Institute. It’s the first ranking to measure social responsibility of more than 3,600 U.S. hospitals nationwide and applies never-before-used metrics such as racial inclusivity, avoidance of overuse, and community benefit alongside traditional outcome and safety metrics. Learn more at www.LownHospitalsIndex.org.
About MLK Community Healthcare: MLK Community Healthcare is an integrated healthcare delivery system that serves the medically-underserved community of South Los Angeles. MLKCH offers emergency and inpatient care through its hospital, MLK Community Hospital, and primary and specialty care through the MLK Community Medical Group, with practice sites in multiple locations throughout South Los Angeles. MLKCH also offers community health education and outreach to improve the health of our community. Since its opening in 2015, the hospital and health system has earned awards and headlines for its innovative approaches to quality, safety and patient satisfaction.
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