Wellmont Provides Community Benefit Of $94 Million, Including $77 Million In Uncompensated Care

Wellmont Health System has continued its long-standing partnership with the region by providing a community benefit of $94 million, including $77 million in uncompensated care in the last fiscal year.

The not-for-profit health system, which provides high-quality and compassionate services throughout Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, invested in care, education and community outreach initiatives. Wellmont details the extent of its community support in its fiscal 2012 report "For Healing. For Health. For Life."

"Wellmont is pleased to play an extensive role in the economic vitality of our region, and this report shows how deeply we are woven into the fabric of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia," said Denny DeNarvaez, president and CEO. "Our leadership and co-workers are committed to enhancing the quality of life and creating a culture of wellness in the communities we are privileged to serve."

In the fiscal year that ended June 30, Wellmont provided $77,489,118 in uncompensated care. That is an increase of more than $2.75 million - or 3.7 percent - from fiscal 2011.

As examples of the way the health system assists the community, Wellmont completely writes off charges for patients with incomes less than twice the federal poverty guidelines and provides a 60 percent write-off for uninsured patients who exceed that income level. Wellmont Medical Associates practices offer similar discounts.

Wellmont's additional investment in the region took many other forms that substantially benefited communities large and small. It totaled about $17 million.

The health system provided more than $5.2 million in community health education and outreach, including free screenings, health fairs, support groups, medical libraries and health seminars. Screenings promoted early detection of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and multiple other diseases and illnesses that afflict the region.

Wellmont also focused on developing new frontiers of care through clinical trials and research. The health system spent more than $89,000 to advance health in areas, such as cardiology, cancer and neonatal intensive care. More than 1,200 patients benefited from innovative studies led by Wellmont caregivers.

Many organizations that improve lives every day received financial support from Wellmont. The health system allocated more than $541,000 to back partners such as the United Way, the YMCA, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the American Cancer Society and Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. In addition, Wellmont co-workers volunteered nearly 110,000 hours of their time.

To help the region achieve optimal health, Wellmont supports training and education for healthcare professionals. Wellmont committed about $6.3 million for training of medical professionals and continuing education of co-workers.

Wellmont Foundation also invested nearly $4.5 million to strengthen Wellmont facilities and programs throughout the region. Receiving assistance from a variety of community sources, the foundation was able to supplement resources from the health system so Wellmont could continue to meet the diverse needs of patients.

"We are constantly looking for the best ways to improve our region's health status and are proud of the way we have helped our valued patients and the community as a whole," DeNarvaez said.

"The coming years will be challenging with declining Medicare reimbursements from the federal government, further reductions as a result of the federal sequester and the uncertainty of Medicaid expansion. But the future is also exciting as we embark on new methods of care that are geared to prevent illness and build even stronger relationships between patients and their providers through projects such as our patient-centered medical home and the electronic health record."

With the changing funding formulas associated with many traditional revenue sources, the communities Wellmont serves will have opportunities to participate in creating a dynamic health system.

The foundation recently celebrated the achievement of its five-year campaign "Transforming Lives & Legacies." Begun in 2008 during extraordinarily difficult financial times nationwide, the campaign was nonetheless a smashing success by generating about $32.7 million in contributions from 18,545 donors.

This support empowered Wellmont and its co-workers to enhance the health system's cancer, heart and children's care programs, bolster its emergency preparedness and expand its Healing Environment philosophy. This financial backing also enabled them to upgrade facilities and technology and further support education and community initiatives.

"We are fortunate to live in a region that recognizes the value of partnerships to elevate the quality of our health care," said Todd Norris, Wellmont's senior vice president of system advancement. "The support the foundation received during our recent campaign was a testament to the resolve of everyone in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia to have superior health care. It is just another example why our region is such an excellent place to live, work and play."

To read the annual report, please visit www.wellmont.org and click the About Us link.