An analysis found that hospitals around Ohio invested more than $6 billion in community issues. These are programs that take health and wellness outside the walls of a hospital.
The Ohio Hospital Association says the increased spending on community benefit programs shows there's a need for hospitals to invest more in preventative efforts and other social needs in their neighborhoods.
John Palmer, Ohio Hospital Association's director of public relations, says these programs can prevent more costly hospital visits.
"To put together more strategy of identifying those health care needs and then deploying programs to effectively address those and really meeting the community directly," says Palmer.
These projects include working to reduce infant mortality, substance abuse, provide aid for housing and transportation, and health screenings.
Palmer says these community benefit programs, such as free health screenings and immunizations, can become a helpful preventative tactic to encourage wellness.
"They're able to catch things manifest and become a little more problematic. It's those types of community-based programs that we are seeing a difference and that we're seeing a need for," Palmer says.
An economic report from the OHA found that more than 200 hospitals in Ohio accounted for $31.4 billion in economic activity and employed more than 255,000 people.