Community Benefits Hospital Reports available online; Clean Vessel Act Grants Help Marinas

Clean Vessel Act help Marinas
Mass gets over $1 million

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acting Director Rowan Gould announced today $12.8 million will be awarded to 31 states under the Clean Vessel Act grant program in 2010. The grants will be used to fund the construction and installation of sewage pumpout facilities and floating restrooms, to purchase pumpout boats and to provide educational programs for recreational boaters, as they have been since the program's inception in the early 1990s.
   "Clean Vessel Act funding supports the construction of facilities in communities that depend largely on recreational boating for their economy - and depend on clean water for their health and the health of their environment," said Gould. "In a time of economic uncertainty, these grants also provide an immediate investment in construction jobs and infrastructure that provide lasting value for recreational boaters, state agencies, and local communities."
   To date, the program - administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - has awarded more than $172 million to states to install thousands of sewage pumpout stations. In addition, many states now rely upon mobile sewage pumpout boats to make the sewage collection process more efficient and convenient for boaters. A number of states also have begun installing floating restrooms and pumpout stations in high use areas of lakes and coastal waters.
   Funding for the CVA program comes from the Sport Fishing and Boating Trust Fund, formerly known as the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund, which is supported by excise taxes levied on certain fishing and boating equipment and boat fuels.

Massachusetts: $1,029,458 -

   The Division of Marine Fisheries plans to install or renovate two sewage pumpout facilities, purchase two sewage pumpout boats, and provide operation and maintenance funding for existing sewage pumpout boats and facilities along the Merrimack River and in the cities of Rockport, Marblehead, Marshfield, and Tisbury. The agency will also continue its efforts to educate boaters about the importance of proper sewage disposal.

2009 Community Benefits Hospital Reports Now Available Online on the Attorney General's Website

Annual reports outlining the community programs and charity care Massachusetts hospitals provided to residents in 2009 are now available on Attorney General Martha Coakley's website.

The Attorney General's Community Benefits Guidelines, first established in 1994, provide a framework for how non-profit acute care hospitals should formally evaluate area health needs, work with community partners to design and develop programs to meet these needs, and report these activities to the Attorney General's Office. Chronic disease prevention and management, charity care, and increased access to care are among the benefits residents received through the Community Benefits Program. For example, hospitals developed diabetes education and management programs, language-appropriate health education materials and provided enrollment assistance for the uninsured. Hospital annual reports can be found here.

Sixty non-profit acute care hospitals and health care systems in the Commonwealth filed community benefit reports with the Attorney General's Office. In addition, two for-profit hospitals submitted reports. Overall, hospitals report spending $304 million in community benefit and community service programs and $177 million in charity care.

Starting in 2011, hospitals and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) are expected to file community benefit reports under revised guidelines issued by Attorney General Coakley's office in 2009. The revised guidelines are designed to improve transparency and accountability in community benefit reporting, promote comprehensive planning processes and community involvement, and advance statewide health priorities.

The revised guidelines are the result of a review by the Attorney General's Community Benefits Advisory Task Force of key stakeholders who share the common goal of improving the health of communities across the state. Under the revised guidelines, hospitals and HMOs submit annual reports to the Attorney General on their community benefit programs and expenditures, enabling both Attorney General oversight and public scrutiny of non-profit health care institutions.

The new guidelines:

  • require goal setting and measurement for community benefit programs;
  • encourage alignment of community benefit activities with statewide health priorities, such as chronic disease management and reducing health disparities;
  • streamline and standardize the reporting format; and
  • encourage pre-planning and community involvement in the development of community benefit programs;
  • recommend hospital debt collection practices that balance the needs of consumers burdened with medical debt with the needs of providers to seek reimbursement for their services.

CapeCodToday.com welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on CapeCodToday.com.