In Archbold's fiscal year 2020, $60.6 million in community benefit was provided to the region. Using a methodology defined by the IRS for documenting and reporting this benefit, this number includes care for uninsured and underinsured patients; unreimbursed costs for patients in programs like Medicaid; outreach to underserved communities; general health improvement initiatives; support of health professions education; and support for community-building activities in the region.
Archbold Memorial Hospital has been providing care to patients in South Georgia, regardless of their ability to pay, since 1925. In fact, one of Archbold's six core values is community benefit.
"It is an important part of our work to serve those who do not always have access to healthcare because of transportation or financial barriers. Often we take our programs and services where our patients need them most, in the communities in which they live and work," said Todd Bennett, Archbold Clinical Outreach Manager.
Archbold offers part of its community benefits through clinical outreach, most often provided in the form of early identification efforts such as free screenings, prevention efforts such as Archbold Health Talks, or educational programs like breastfeeding or smoking cessation classes. Of the $60.6 million, more than $93,000 went towards these services.
Because of the economic realities for many in this region, a large part of the $60.6 million was spent on uncompensated care. $15.3 million was used to provide free or reduced-fee care based on the patient's ability to pay. $23 million was used to support trauma care and subsidize other healthcare services, and $21 million was used for the cost of care not fully reimbursed by Medicaid.
Archbold also provided $1.2 million in scholarships, support for faculty and programs and Thomas University and Southern Regional Technical College, and onsite training support for all healthcare careers. There is a tremendous need for healthcare workers locally and across the nation, so this type of support is truly critical for the future of health services in the region. As an example of a continued commitment to maintaining this vital pipeline of well-trained workers, Archbold recently increased financial support for Southern Regional Technical College to support a second faculty member in the nursing program to increase the number of students who could be served.
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic presented Archbold with an unforeseen challenge, but it also provided a very rewarding opportunity for community benefit. In addition to the care provided to so many during this pandemic, it became clear that Archbold needed to fill a significant resource gap in the community and develop a program to offer the COVID vaccine widely. Archbold provided both hospital-based vaccine clinics, but also took mobile clinics to underserved populations, church groups, small towns and schools. To date, Archbold has hosted 303 vaccine clinics throughout our region and administered over 38,000 vaccines at no cost to the patient.
Lastly, although it is not part of the IRS definition of community benefit provided by Archbold, another significant part of Archbold's importance to the community lies in the economic impact provided by the more than 2500 jobs and the jobs of all the healthcare-related offices that exist because of this hospital system. Using a methodology from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Archbold Medical Center's regional economic impact was over $723 million in 2019.
Archbold physicians and staff are proud of the work they do for the benefit of the community. Serving in healthcare is a calling. But the ability to support the benefit to the community is highly contingent on the ability of the organization to cover the costs of programs.
"To continue this level of community benefit to our patients and the sophisticated services we provide in Thomasville, we must retain vital resources such as commercially insured care," said Darcy Craven, President and CEO of Archbold Medical Center. "When patients are directed out of town for care, they are putting at risk our ability to provide the full scope of services currently available at Archbold."
For a list of services provided by Archbold, please visit www.archbold.org.