July 24, 2018

Maine Medical Center's community benefit? $260M in FY 2017

Photo / Tim Greenway
Photo / Tim Greenway
Richard Petersen, president and CEO of Maine Medical Center, reported Monday that the hospital provided $260.2 million in total community benefit in fiscal year 2017, an increase of more than $24.5 million over the previous fiscal year.

How does MMC compute its 'community benefit'?

The fiscal year community data is self-reported in accordance with federal guidelines and is required as part of the medical center's tax-exempt status. The accounting captures both mandatory and voluntary programs and contributions created in response to community need. The total dollar figure represents expenditures that Maine Medical Center does not receive compensation to cover. Community benefit programs do not take the place of required taxes that MMC pays at the city, state and federal levels.

For the fiscal year ending Oct. 1, 2017, Maine Medical Center provided $260.2 million in total community benefit, an increase of more than $24.5 million over the previous fiscal year.

"Maine Medical Center is well known as a provider of excellent, patient-centered care," said MMC President and CEO Rich Petersen. "But our staff, our programs and our departments also work hard every day to deliver tangible benefits that improve the lives of those we serve, offset private and public costs and ultimately enhance the quality of life in our community. This is work we are extremely proud of doing and in many instances is not required for us to perform. We do so because we are invested in working together to create a healthier Maine."

The nonprofit medical center's tri-part mission calls on it to "care for our community, educate tomorrow's caregivers and research new ways to provide care," according to the news release announcing MMC's 2017 community benefits report.

MMC and its physician group, Maine Medical Partners, make an effort to increase access to care through a range of programs, including free charity care, unpaid care (so-called "bad debt") and subsidies for government insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid that do not cover the full cost of care. Together, these services totaled more than $55.2 million in community benefit in fiscal year 2017, up nearly $3 million from the previous year.

MMC provides nearly 23% of all the charity care delivered in Maine.

Community benefits

Here's a partial list of some of the community benefits provided by MMC in fiscal year 2017:

  • Funding and access to free care through Care Partners, a safety net program designed to assist those who do not qualify for government programs. Patient navigators and interpreter services help ensure that patients are able to understand their options and the recommendations of physicians and other care providers.
  • The Northern New England Poison Center, serving Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont with toll-free telephone consultations about toxic substances, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • MMC also provides access to free prescriptions and medication assistance through its MedAccess program; additionally, MMC handed out almost $500,000 of free medication in 2017.

In addition to providing charity, uncompensated and subsidized care, MMC facilitates a variety of community service programs that directly benefit Portland area residents. Among them:

  • MMC nurses partner with the city of Portland on Drug Take Back Day and the city's health fair aimed at serving homeless families and immigrants.
  • Support for community health centers such as the Sagamore Village Health Center and staffs school-based clinics in Portland. Colleagues also volunteer at the Portland Community Free Clinic, and the Day One Youth Substance Abuse Program consults weekly with MMC physicians over medical questions.
  • MMC also contributes to local nonprofit organizations such as The American Heart Association and the United Way, and it has programs to assist patients with their financial needs, including help with billing or with necessities such as clothing, transportation or lodging.

Commitment to health education

MMC is helping to further the education of future health care providers in a number of ways. The Maine Track program, a partnership between MMC and the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, has graduated more than 200 students, many of whom have come to train and eventually practice medicine in Maine. MMC also offers post-graduate fellowships, residency programs and a variety of professional development opportunities.

Overall, MMC spent more than $82 million on professional health education in 2017.

The Maine Medical Center Research Institute is the largest hospital-based biomedical research facility in northern New England. MMCRI researchers are working to develop and implement innovative medical treatments for many chronic diseases prevalent in our region including cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and substance abuse.

Research activities also focus on defining optimal methods of prevention and health care delivery in rural environments, where approximately 60% of Maine's population resides.

More than $10 million was spent on research in 2017.

About Maine Medical Center

Maine Medical Center, recognized as a "best regional hospital" by U.S. News and World Report for 2017-2018, is the state's largest medical center, licensed for 637 beds and employing nearly 8,700 people. MMC is a member of the MaineHealth system, a growing family of health care services in northern New England. More information about MMC's community benefit is available here.


Maine Medical Center's 2017 Community Benefits report


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