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Disease Prevention

Provision of Wellness Services Vary Among Hospitals


Church-related hospitals and hospitals that are part of healthcare systems, networks or alliances report the largest percentages for offering services such as health screenings, support groups, outreach services and outpatient care, the study indicates.

Lower percentages of the small, city- or county-operated, and rural hospitals provide wellness services to their communities.

"American hospitals traditionally have focused on acute medical care rather than health promotion and disease prevention," said lead researcher Peter C. Olden, Ph.D., director of the Graduate Health Administration Program at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.

"The good news is many hospitals today also provide wellness services to the populations they serve, often in collaboration with other community organizations," said Olden. "The bad news is hospitals do not uniformly offer health promotion and disease prevention services. Many hospitals offer only minimal services, so their communities are at a disadvantage."

At least 70 percent of the hospitals offered social work services, breast cancer screening, other health screenings, health fairs and outpatient services.

At least half of the hospitals offered nutrition programs, support groups, community outreach and patient services. Eighty-one percent worked with other providers or public agencies to assess the health status of their communities.

Community benefit is part of nearly all (96 percent) of the general hospital’s missions, according to the study. However, in comparison, only 86 percent reported designated resources for community benefit activities, and only 80 percent had a long-term plan for improving the health of their communities.

A lower percentage of the small hospitals reported a commitment to community benefit, compared to larger hospitals. Address: University of Scranton, Linden and Monroe Avenues, Scranton, PA 18510; (717) 941-7400, fax (717) 941-6369, www.uofs.edu.


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