Using Community Benefit Funds to Improve Nutrition within Health Sector

Lucia Sayre

January 21, 2015

Health Care Without Harm

Health care is big business in the United States, with national health expenditures topping 20% of the gross domestic product. Hospitals employ more than 5.4 million people and spend more than $340 billion annually on goods and services. 

Hospitals that operate as non-profits (58% of all hospitals in the United States) are required to set aside a certain percentage of their gross revenues for community benefit funds that are dedicated to the improvement of community health through grants and donations

With changes in how the IRS defines and regulates community benefits, and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act designed to address population health, we’re seeing the expansion of “upstream” prevention-based programs that can help reduce the burden of chronic disease. A recent and important ruling by the IRS will allow hospitals to claim their community benefit investments “to ensure adequate nutrition”. The ruling is being hailed as a victory for nutrition and sustainable food advocates alike...

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