Question: We are part of a multi-hospital collaborative that provides funding to a medical respite program, a 15-bed unit in a homeless shelter that accepts homeless patients transitioning out of an acute care setting. We contribute $25,000 annually. This year we discharged seven patients to the respite program. The estimated avoided inpatient bed days and cost savings of those seven patients is 26 days and $145,000. I assume I can still describe the program in the narrative part of my community benefit report, right? Can I count the $25,000 annual contribution given we've had an estimated cost savings?
Recommendation: The contribution to the homeless shelter may be considered a community benefit expense as long as your primary purpose in supporting the shelter is to serve homeless persons (as opposed to shortening their length of stay in order to save money for the hospital). The contribution to the program should be reported as E1: Cash Donation.