The Hilltop Institute logo


News from The Hilltop Institute at UMBC

Hilltop Hosts Symposium on Community Benefit Policy

The Hilltop Institute is pleased to announce the success of its 7th invitational symposium, Taking Hospital Community Benefit Policy to the Next Level: Advancing Community Health, which convened on June 15, 2016.

The community benefit requirements for nonprofit hospitals in the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) address transparency and accountability in financial assistance policies and billing and collection practices. The ACA also requires hospitals to conduct community health needs assessments (CHNAs) in partnership with public health professionals and the community. Final regulations issued by the Department of the Treasury on December 31, 2014, further support community health improvement, stating that the health needs of a community extend beyond health care to include the social, behavioral, and environmental factors that influence health. Together these new provisions represent an unprecedented opportunity to leverage the resources of the health care delivery and public health systems to build a more responsive, integrated system focused on population health.

The symposium brought together over 120 policymakers, researchers, and other key stakeholders from around the country to examine these opportunities, reflect on the challenges, and provoke innovative thinking on advancing community health through hospital community benefit policy.

The day was divided into four sessions and highlighted by a keynote address, a luncheon address, and concluding reflections.

Sara Rosenbaum, Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy, School of Public Health and Health Services at George Washington University, began the day with her keynote, Hospitals’ Role in Community Health Improvement: The Evolution of Community Benefit. She discussed the distinction between community health improvement and community building activities, explained how the IRS reporting requirements and efforts to capture and define community benefit spending are moving toward one another but are not quite yet aligned, and offered recommendations.

Christopher Koller, President of the Milbank Memorial Fund, provided comments on the keynote in his presentation titled Refining Hospital Community Benefit Programs.

Ruth Ann Norton, President and CEO of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI), gave the luncheon presentation, Advancing Community Health through Housing, focusing on lead poisoning and asthma as the leading health concerns for families living in unhealthy and unsafe households.

Charles Milligan, CEO at UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of New Mexico and former Executive Director of The Hilltop Institute, wrapped up the day with his reflections. He summarized the topics and themes that emerged throughout the day and emphasized the importance of leadership at the state and local level in effecting change and driving community health improvement.

To learn more about the speakers, see the agenda, view the presentations, and watch the video recordings of the sessions, go to



The Hilltop Institute at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) is a non-partisan health research organization dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations. Hilltop conducts research, analysis, and evaluations on behalf of government agencies, foundations, and nonprofit organizations at the national, state, and local levels. Hilltop is committed to addressing complex issues through informed, objective, and innovative research and analysis.

The Hilltop Institute
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Sondheim Hall, 3rd Floor
1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, Maryland 21250