From hiring local residents to investing in support services that address social determinants of health, Cleveland Clinic’s impact has touched many lives in the communities it serves. In 2021, the organization contributed $1.41 billion in community benefit for its operations in Ohio, Florida and Nevada. This marks an increase from $1.31 billion in 2020.
As a non-profit hospital, in order to maintain its tax-exempt status with the IRS, Cleveland Clinic is required to provide a benefit to the health of the community it serves. This is commonly known as the community benefit. In annual reporting to the IRS, the health system describes how it meets the community benefit requirements in the following groupings: Medicaid Shortfall, Financial Assistance, Research, Education, Community Health and Subsidized Health Services.
Cleveland Clinic is dedicated to creating the healthiest community for everyone through healing as a leader in public health and high-quality patient care; hiring by developing the local workforce and developing meaningful connections with youth; and investing through community benefit and charitable partnerships. Examples have focused on healing include investing $52.5 million over the next five years to make Cleveland homes lead safe, and collaborating with the City of Cleveland, Meijer, Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation and Fairmount Properties to break ground on a $52.8 million development that will include a new 40,000-square-foot grocery market. The market’s location is currently designated a food desert by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Investments include $10 million for construction of an 82-unit mixed-income apartment building next to Meijer grocery market, and partnering with University Hospitals of Cleveland to help local diverse suppliers grow their businesses and support economic inclusion through the Diversity Equity Inclusion Supplier Accelerator program.
Cleveland Clinic is committed to hiring local. The organization is a founding member of OneTen, a coalition of large U.S. employers formed to train, hire and promote one million Black Americans into family-sustaining jobs with opportunities for advancement. Thus far, Cleveland Clinic has had more than 1,100 hires and promotions. Cleveland Clinic established the ASPIRE Nurse Scholars Program, a local high school and college program that seeks to increase diversity in healthcare, address opportunity gaps and reduce health disparities in the community. Twenty-five students enroll in ASPIRE each year, and five program graduates are employed by Cleveland Clinic.
Additionally, the organization developed several initiatives to attract local talent including successful career expos in the City of Cleveland that offer on-the-spot hiring to help fill vacant positions within the health system. Caregivers canvass local neighborhoods to inform residents of the range of career opportunities available within the health system. In 2021, Cleveland Clinic’s goal was to hire 15% of its total workforce from City of Cleveland. Due in part to these hiring activities, the organization exceeded its goal by hiring 1,080 new caregivers from the City of Cleveland, which equates to 15.23%.
“For more than 100 years, the mission of Cleveland Clinic has guided us to serve our patients and communities in the best way possible,” said Tom Mihaljevic, M.D., CEO and President and Morton L. Mandel CEO Chair of Cleveland Clinic.
“The pathway to health involves so much more than just what goes on inside the walls of our buildings,” he added. “It requires us to take a holistic look at all factors that affect a person’s well-being. In every aspect of our work — how we train the next generation of providers, conduct research, provide charitable care and health screenings, and staff our facilities — we are committed to strengthening the communities we serve.”
In addition to meeting federal requirements for reporting community benefit, Cleveland Clinic reinvests all of its earnings. Some key areas in which the organization has invested in the community include:
Caring for those in need (Medicaid Shortfall, Financial Assistance, and Subsidized Health Services): Cleveland Clinic is the largest provider of Medicaid outpatient visits, Medicaid inpatient days and both Medicaid costs and payments in Ohio. The health system spent more than $600 million in 2021 to cover care for its Medicaid patients, which include children, pregnant women, parents, seniors, individuals with disabilities, and low-income adults. Additionally, in 2021, it provided financial assistance to nearly 140,000 patients who were unable to pay some or all of their medical bills.
Diagnosing health conditions (Community Health): Cleveland Clinic continues to host health screening events across Northeast Ohio, Florida and Nevada, helping identify conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and connect patients with primary care physicians who can work with them over time to make improvements in their health. The health system has programs to address infant and maternal mortality, opioid addiction, food insecurity and lack of nutritious food, and pediatric care. Connecting patients with resources to address quality-of-life issues is a priority.
Cleveland Clinic’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic continued in 2021, with community-based clinical services including testing and vaccine clinics in local neighborhoods, and public education related to COVID-19.
Educating the next generation (Education): Cleveland Clinic has one of the largest training programs for medical students after graduation—nearly 19,000 physicians (residents and fellows) have trained at the organization. In the 2020-21 academic year, 23 percent of those trainees stayed in Ohio. Thirty-six percent of current staff physicians in Ohio and Florida trained at Cleveland Clinic.
As part of its commitment to education, more than 1,200 high school and college students have participated in Cleveland Clinic’s community education programs since 2006.
Pursuing answers through research (Research): Cleveland Clinic’s innovations and discoveries are changing the course of medicine and clinical care, and have become standard practice around the world. Since it was founded in 1921, Cleveland Clinic researchers have contributed to key innovations such as establishing a link between diet and heart disease, pioneering coronary bypass surgery, performing the first cadaver kidney transplant, and discovering the brain-mapping technique to pinpoint epileptic seizures. Today, researchers innovate care and improve patient outcomes by making life-saving organ transplants more accessible.
Over the last five years (2017-2021), Cleveland Clinic has received more than $1 billion in research funding from multiple sources. In 2021, this funding supported more than 3,200 active research projects. This includes a landmark brain study aimed at preventing and curing neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and epilepsy. In 2021, the organization made plans to co-invest $300 million to fuel discoveries in new and existing research labs as part of the Cleveland Innovation District, the largest research effort in Cleveland Clinic’s history.
“Contributing to the health of our communities has always been among the most important things we do,” said Vickie Johnson, director of economic development and community engagement at Cleveland Clinic. “By working closely with our neighbors and community advisory councils, and conducting health needs assessments, we are able to identify health-related gaps and make direct, meaningful contributions that are critical to attaining the highest level of health. Collaborating with organizations that share this commitment, we can impact social determinants of health more broadly than we could alone.”
Cleveland Clinic completes health needs assessments for each of its hospitals in order to identify and evaluate the unique health-related needs of each community. These reports offer valuable feedback on how the health system can contribute to improving the overall health of its neighbors.
More information about our commitment to the communities we serve can be found here: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/about/community.
For the latest community impact report, visit https://my.clevelandclinic.org/about/community/reports/benefit.