Stethoscope

“These ministries are at the very center of what it means to be church, to be the hands and feet of Christ,” said Michael J. Readinger, CHHSM’s President and CEO.

The United Church of Christ’s nearly 400 health and human service ministries provided more than $857 million in uncompensated, charitable care in 2016, an increase of nearly 18 percent in one year.

The jump represents one of the largest single-year increases in decades, according to statistics collected by the UCC’s Council for Health and Human Service Ministries (CHHSM).

As of December 31, 2016, CHHSM-member ministries reported $857,891,075.16 in uncompensated, charitable care, reported Catherine Kane, CHHSM’s Associate for Business Operations.

CHHSM’s member organizations annually provide statistical data on the impact of their services, as part of their ongoing commitment to the overall ministries of the United Church of Christ. The impact statistics, which could still be revised upward, will be reported in the 2017 UCC Yearbook, Kane said.

“These ministries are at the very center of what it means to be church, to be the hands and feet of Christ,” said Michael J. Readinger, CHHSM’s President and CEO. “UCC ministries provide services large and small in scale, and everywhere in between, but the important point is that, collectively, the health and human service ministries of the United Church of Christ have an enormous impact in their communities and on the nation as a whole.”

A significant provider of charitable care is UCC-related Advocate Health Care, the largest health care system in Illinois, which operates more than 450 sites of care, with 12 acute-care hospitals, including a children’s hospital with two campuses and the state’s largest integrated children’s network.

Advocate provided $519 million in uncompensated charitable patient care, in addition to millions of dollars in subsidized health services, hospital-based educational programs, volunteer and language assistance services, and charitable donations.

CHHSM’s Board Chair, the Rev. Bonnie Condon, is Advocate Health Care’s Vice President for Faith Outreach.

“We, at Advocate, are deeply committed to being a faith-based leader in quality health care for all,” Condon said, “and we are equally committed to being a ministry of and for the church. For Advocate, our membership in CHHSM is about contributing to the viability and expansion of health and human service ministries across the United Church of Christ.”

UCC-related Cedar Community, a continuum-of-care residential provider based in West Bend, Wis., offered just under $14 million in charitable care last year, representing 29 percent of its $49 million operating budget.

Phoebe Ministries, based in Allentown, Pa., offers a wide range of health care, housing, and support services for seniors. It also reported close to $14 million in charitable care.

Seventeen UCC ministries provided uncompensated care in the $1-million-to-$10 million range and another 17 reported amounts under $1 million but in excess of $100,000. Dozens more reported charitable care in the five-figure range.

United Church Homes in Marion, Ohio, operates 69 residential communities and 10 healthcare facilities in 14 states and two Native American reservations. Last year, it provided $7.4 million in uncompensated care.

“As our national health care system shifts toward new payment models, organizations like United Church Homes assume a greater amount of financial risk than ever before,” explained the Rev. Kenneth V. Daniel, United Church Homes President and CEO. “Our board remains committed to sustain our residents in this new environment even when they have exhausted their own resources paying for their care. This is the legacy on which we were founded 100 years ago.”

UCC-related Deaconess Foundation, which is committed to improving the health of the Metropolitan St. Louis community and its people, granted $2.4 million toward charitable care last year, nearly two-thirds of its annual operating budget. It also operates wide-ranging programs for children, youth and family focused on improved community health, justice advocacy and volunteerism.

“The generosity of care provided by CHHSM ministries is one of the primary reasons why so many UCC congregations and individuals support these ministries financially with their charitable donations,” Readinger said. “We can be extremely proud, as UCC members, of the great compassion extended to tens of thousands, regardless of their financial means, in the name of the United Church of Christ.”