Wheaton Franciscan Services, Inc.’s purpose and role as a not-for-profit organization in the community
Wheaton Franciscan Services, Inc. is a Catholic, not-for-profit health care organization, serving as the parent of a multi-state health care system. The Wheaton Franciscan System includes 17 hospital campuses and a number of outpatient, long-term care and home health organizations in Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois. Started by the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters more than 100 years ago and formally incorporated in 1983, the Wheaton Franciscan System is committed to living out the healing ministry of Jesus by providing exceptional and compassionate health care service that promotes the dignity and well being of the people we serve.
Consistent with its not-for-proft status, the Wheaton Franciscan System reinvests all of our net income into the communities we serve, rather than distributing it to shareholders or private owners. Simply put, the Wheaton Franciscan System exists to serve and benefit our communities.
We provide care to all who come to us
The Wheaton Franciscan System is committed to providing necessary health care services to people in the communities we serve. No person is denied emergent care or receives less than the appropriate level of care based on his or her ability to pay. And, we have specific procedures and guidelines in place that help those who cannot pay or need help paying for their care.
Specifically, patients whose household income is up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level can enroll in the System’s Community Care Program, which relieves a portion or all of a patient’s financial obligation. We also develop reasonable payment plans for patients who can afford to pay over time. Moreover, we are confident that our collection practices are aligned with our values of respect and integrity.
Nationally, the number of patients who are are uninsured or underinsured continues to rise, and we find ourselves providing an increasing amount of charity care at every one of our facilities.
Community Care Policy
We work to improve the health of our communities
The Wheaton Franciscan System is committed to improving the health of our communities. We regularly assess the needs of our communities (with special attention to low-income and minority populations), and reach out to fill the void that exists for many of our poor, disabled, elderly, and chronically ill. Specifically, we:
- Conduct, coordinate or participate in studies to determine the most pressing health issues facing our communities.
- Collaborate with other agencies in our communities, from county health departments to social welfare agencies to the United Way, to make a bigger impact.
- Proactively reach out to those we are trying to help to ensure they have access to our programs and services.
Our hospitals also provide and are involved in hundreds of health promotion activities each year. For example, every one of our hospitals provides:
- Free and discounted care services to those who cannot afford to pay for health care through medical clinics and screenings
- Clinics and other community-based services
- Health education and promotion classes both at our hospitals and in the community
- Subsidized services, such as neonatal intensive care units and behavioral health services, that are provided at a loss because they are needed by the community
In addition, we support many community-building efforts, such as economic revitalization, neighborhood improvement, and enhanced public transportation.
In fiscal 2009* Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare in Iowa contributed more than $20.3 million to our communities and spent considerable time and resources advocating for health insurance coverage for all Americans..
We invest to ensure that our mission endures
Based on our not-for-profit status and the charitable nature of our programs and services,many of our facilities are exempt from income, sales and some property taxes. Our tax-exempt status also means we are able to solicit and receive philanthropic funds and government grants. The ability to access these funds is important as the health care industry as a whole struggles to raise adequate capital needed to continue to meet the ever growing and changing needs of our communities. Specifically, we are dedicated to investing in technology, facilities and programs that improve patients’ access to our services, help our clinicians provide quality care, advance clinical research, and attract the most skilled and dedicated staff.
To learn more about what the Wheaton Franciscan System is doing to promote the health of its communities, increase access to care for all Americans and invest in the future of health care, please see the Wheaton annual report.
* Fiscal year 2012 ending June 30. Includes non-billed community services, donations, clinical education, research, and the Wheaton Franciscan System’s endowment fund grants.