Leadership Role of Nonprofit Health Systems in Improving Community Health

Executive Summary

As our nation’s hospitals and health systems work toward achieving the Triple Aim—increase the quality and experience of patient care, decrease per-capita health expenditures and improve population health— they are expanding their focus to address multiple issues that affect the health and well-being of the communities they serve. We now know that the environment, genetics, lifestyle choices and socioeconomic factors account for some 90 percent of the health status of individuals and communities. Together with their community partners, leading health systems are recognizing that these factors are pertinent to their core mission and vision.

The Leadership Role of Nonprofit Health Systems in Improving Community Health builds on earlier reports from the former AHA’s Center for Healthcare Governance and addresses the important role health systems and their boards can play in creating healthier communities. This report discusses the complex challenges involved in community health improvement and makes the case for why health systems should take a substantial role in the multi-sector collaboration needed to achieve significant impact.

Profiles of five nonprofit health systems address the commitment they have made to providing leadership in improving community health; the partnerships, priorities and progress they have achieved; and how their governing boards, advisory councils and organizational leaders are engaged in striving to attain their goals. The health systems that participated in developing the report and their corporate locations are:

• Beacon Health System/Memorial Hospital of South Bend, South Bend, Ind.

• Dignity Health, San Francisco

• MaineHealth, Portland, Maine

• Mercy Health, Cincinnati, Ohio; and

• Texas Health Resources, Arlington, Texas.

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