MHA’s Beyond the Pandemic: A Commitment to Community publication, created with the assistance of its membership, describes the community benefit process in Massachusetts and provides examples of programs from hospitals across the state.
Since the pandemic began in March 2020, the healthcare community has faced enormous challenges and continues to navigate a constant state of uncertainty.
But also during that time, Massachusetts hospitals continued their outreach into their service areas – with many joining together in the form of regional collaboratives – to provide community benefits that included significant investments in health equity and the social determinants of health.
The devastating financial and operational effects on hospitals due to the pandemic have been, and continue to be, unprecedented. Providers have lost billions in revenue and experienced new expenses associated with COVID-19, including expenses related to emergency preparedness, personal protective equipment, temporary staffing, capacity planning and implementation, supply chain disruptions and shortages, delayed/canceled elective procedures, COVID-19 therapeutics, testing, vaccine administration, and challenging clinical care delivery dynamics. The pandemic also underscored the effects of systemic oppression over generations that have contributed to stark health inequities for people of color and other disenfranchised communities.
While grappling with these issues over the past two years, hospitals provided life-saving care, led vaccination efforts throughout the state, while continuing day-today outreach outside of their facilities’ walls and into their communities.