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UC Health’s community benefit tops $3 billion

March 21, 2012

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A veterinary student holds a patient at the Mercer Clinic in December 2011. Mercer volunteers have facilitated more than 200 spay-neuter procedures in the past year alone.

The Mercer Veterinary Clinic for Pets of the Homeless is featured in a new communication and brochure from the University of California that estimates some of the financial benefit to communities where UC programs aid local residents. While Mercer Clinic financial data has not been calculated, the volunteers from the School of Veterinary Medicine and Sacramento-area practitioners have provided significant services in terms of preventive veterinary care, fewer visits for emergency veterinary care and a reduction in the number of stray animals.The following press release was prepared by the University of California Office of the President.

March 20, 2012

For the first time, University of California Health has measured the collective impact it has in caring for uninsured patients, educating tomorrow's health leaders and advancing science to tackle medicine's toughest challenges.

The estimated community benefit of UC Health's five medical centers totaled $3.3 billion last year.

"As a public university and cornerstone of the safety net, UC Health is committed to serve California's health needs," said Dr. John Stobo, UC senior vice president for health sciences and services." Our combined community benefit demonstrates the powerful impact UC Health has as a system."

Throughout UC Health, student-run clinics collaborate across their campuses and within their communities to treat patients from the working poor to the homeless and their pets. UC's three nurse-run clinics provide compassionate care to underserved patients in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Francisco. UC's innovative Programs in Medical Education (PRIME) train doctors where they are most needed with programs focused on rural health and telemedicine (UC Davis), the Latino community (UC Irvine), the diverse disadvantaged (UCLA, UC Riverside), the San Joaquin Valley (UC Merced, UC Davis, UCSF), health equity (UC San Diego), and the urban underserved (UCSF, UC Berkeley).

UC Health has the nation's largest health sciences educational system, with 18 professional schools and programs on seven campuses. Its community impact is felt in all corners of the state, through telemedicine services, clinical trials, classroom collaborations and affiliations such as UCLA's partnership with the Venice Family Clinic, the nation's largest free clinic.

Community benefits include programs or activities that improve access to care, enhance community health, advance medical knowledge and reduce the burden of government or other community efforts.

Here is a breakdown of UC Health's community benefit in fiscal 2011, with totals from the health sciences campuses that have medical centers — UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC San Diego and UCSF:

•    Charity care and unreimbursed care: $560.7 million
Free medical services for patients who had no source of payment for urgently needed care and the unpaid cost of Medicare, Medi-Cal, State Children's Health Insurance Program, indigent care programs and other safety net programs.
•    Education: $174.7 million
Health professions education encompasses teaching physicians, nurses and students as well as scholarships and funding for education.
•    Donations/sponsorships: $1.8 million
Through financial and in-kind contributions, UC Health offers support to community organizations to improve community health.
•    Research: $2.6 billion

UC research gives local residents access to the latest treatments and therapies for advanced illness and complex health conditions.