University of Chicago Medicine invests $254.1M in community

University of Chicago Medicine invests $254.1M in community

October 21, 2013

The University of Chicago Medicine contributed more than 21 percent, or $254.1 million, of its operating expenses in fiscal 2012 to improve the health of the South Side and the broader Chicago area, according to its recently published second annual Community Benefit Report.

For the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2012, the amount of uncompensated care, unrecoverable patient debt, and charity care, among other community investments, rose 7 percent over the year-ago level of $237.1 million. The report outlines ways the institution has provided services, programs, medical education, research and other support to the community.

This increase in the university's commitment to the community came amid expenditures to complete the new $700 million Center for Care and Discovery and an extremely competitive period in health care, ushered in by implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) and consolidation in the Chicago market.

"This report highlights our dedication to the community in which we work and live, and it is as much a point of pride for the institution as are our medical and scientific breakthroughs and our commitment to patient care and safety," said Sharon O'Keefe, president of the University of Chicago Medical Center. "I thank faculty, nurses, students and the rest of the staff for their ongoing commitment to our community."

Uncompensated care totaled $122.5 million, reflecting $90.2 million in losses under Medicare and Medicaid, government-sponsored insurance plans that reimburse health care providers at lower rates than the actual cost of care. That figure included $20.3 million in charity care and $12 million in forgiveness of patient debt. In addition, the University of Chicago Medicine contributed $81.7 million toward medical education not covered by tuition or grants and $48 million for medical research to help advance patient care.

The report also cited the Center for Care and Discovery, which opened in February 2013, for the economic impact it had on the South Side and beyond over the four-year construction project. The $700 million new hospital pumped more than $570 million into the South Side and beyond, according to the annual publication, Of the total available construction contracts open for bid, 48 percent, or almost $210 million, went to women- and minority-owned enterprises.

In all, 2,755 workers helped to build the new 10-story, 1.2 million-square-foot hospital, providing $124 million in wages and other benefits into the pockets of workers, 25 percent of whom lived on the South Side. After construction was completed, about 300 new employees were hired to work in the new hospital.

The Community Benefit Report also introduced the University of Chicago Medicine's Community Health Needs Assessment, an initiative to identify unmet health needs of residents in surrounding neighborhoods as part of requirements of the ACA. The study, a collaboration with the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council, examined health status, demographics, socioeconomic factors and barriers to care in a dozen ZIP codes from 35th Street to 119th Street and east of Western Avenue. The report identified access to health care, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and colorectal and breast cancers as health care priorities for adults and children. A plan is under way to address these health needs, including leveraging current programs and services.

"This exercise provided evidence-based insight into what's needed to help improve the health of our neighbors," said Brenda Battle, RN, vice president for care delivery innovation and assistant dean for diversity and inclusion. "While we are encouraged that much of what we already do at the community level is on target, we also know there's still work to do."

The Community Benefit Report was mailed to about 50,000 people, including residents in the 60615, 60637 and 60653 ZIP codes, UChicago Medicine employees and staff, government workers and community leaders. To view the report and the Community Health Needs Assessment online, visit To get a copy of the Community Benefit Report mailed to you, please call 773-702-0025.