Oregon set its first community benefit spending floor for one of its health systems, establishing a more rigorous regulatory framework that more states may follow, experts said.
As mandated by state bill HB 3076 passed in 2019, Portland, Ore.-based Legacy Health will have to spend at least $253 million on community benefits in fiscal 2022 based on its three-year average of unreimbursed care; direct spending on the social determinants of health, health equity and other community benefits; and its operating margin. Oregon officials hope to address unmet needs and health inequities by setting minimum spending thresholds and tracking those investments. They believe a separate state bill to align and coordinate community benefit programs across providers, health plans and public health departments can also help.
Oregon is the first state to establish hospital-specific community benefit spending floors, said Jeremy Vandehey, director of the Oregon Health Authority’s health policy and analytics division.