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August 20, 2018 (Cleveland)

The Plain Dealer Quotes Mazanec on Hospital Community Benefits

The Plain Dealer Quotes Mazanec, Gutowski on Hospital Community BenefitsOn Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, The Center for Health Affairs’ Interim President & CEO Phil Mazanec and Director of Government Relations Tony Gutowski were quoted in The Plain Dealer’s story on hospital community benefits. The piece, “Big 3 hospitals say community benefits equal $1.3 billion in tradeoff for tax exemption,” focuses on how area hospitals' nonprofit statuses allow them to provide care for the community in ways for-profit systems, driven by financial returns, couldn't:

Representatives from The Center for Health Affairs, a trade association representing Northeast Ohio hospitals, maintain that the community and economic benefit these health systems provide outweighs any uncollected taxes.

"Community benefit in this community is higher than it has ever been, and it continues to grow," said Tony Gutowski, director of government affairs for The Center for Health Affairs.

In a 2015 report, The Center estimated that Northeast Ohio hospitals employed 81,000 people directly and another 4,300 people through construction projects, supporting $7 billion in salaries and benefits.

…And hospitals have begun collaborating on some of the most pressing issues.

The Center recently organized the Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium, a joint effort of UH, the Clinic, MetroHealth, the Northeast Ohio VA Healthcare System, St. Vincent Charity Hospital and The Academy of Medicine of Cleveland and Northern Ohio, to combat opioid addiction.

Hospitals are working together "on keynote issues where their collective weight can make a difference," said Phil Mazanec, interim president & CEO of The Center.

But health challenges in the community will "take decades to curb," Gutowski said.

However, he noted, hospitals are on the right track. For a long time, hospitals concentrated on serving the patients who came through their doors and on investing to improve care long term. In recent years, they have expanded their focus to also address the health of the communities in which they operate.

"Their role has constantly been expanding in a number of ways," Mazanec said. "We want to move the needle. Will that take time? Absolutely. Will it be easy? Absolutely not."

To read the full piece on hospital community benefits, which also includes comments from The Center’s 2018 Board Chair Heidi L. Gartland, vice president, government & community relations, University Hospitals, visit The Plain Dealer’s website.

To learn more about Northeast Ohio hospital community benefits, contact us.