Academic journal article Frontiers of Health Services Management

Editorial

Academic journal article Frontiers of Health Services Management

Editorial

Article excerpt

PEOPLE WHO GIVE MONEY to charitable causes are happier than they are when they spend money on themselves, according to a new study discussed in the March 2008 issue of Science. That's good news, because we in healthcare have lots of room to spread good cheer. With rising costs, insufficient insurance reimbursement rates, and major capital needs for construction and IT, many hospitals are under financial siege. Philanthropy has relieved the pressure for some healthcare facilities. If you are asking the question, "How did they do that?" you are not alone. This issue of Frontiers is dedicated to, as Oprah calls it, the "big give."

What makes someone want to give money or other financial assets to a healthcare system? After all, hospitals are frequently one of the largest employers in town. Most people see all those smart people in white coats or blue scrubs, huge buildings, and awesome technology, and they imagine the hospital is a picture of organizational health and wealth. But we know that can be deceptive. Our facilities are the insurers of last resort for a growing number of the uninsured; our buildings and infrastructure are aging (how many of you still operate in buildings built in the age of Hill Burton?); and the constantly expanding frontiers of research and science compel us to invest in more and more technology. We are reaching ever deeper into our pockets to fund our mission-to provide more and better healthcare to a demanding consumer.

There is help. A few hospitals have received transformational "mega gifts," and it's clear that with the right commitment, priority, and strategy, other healthcare providers could tap into that spirit of generosity. Philanthropy could even help end those sleepless nights (well, maybe not, but it could make some dreams come true).

The story of how the former Sioux Valley Hospitals and Health System became Sanford Health is fascinating. …

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