WINCHESTER — Valley Health provided $72.4 million in community benefits in 2018 — $44.5 million in charity care and unreimbursed Medicaid costs and $27.8 million in outreach and health education programs.

That’s $11 million more than the $61.4 million provided in 2017 and $17.4 million more than the $55 million provided in 2016.

Valley Health, which has about 6,000 employees, is the parent company of Winchester Medical Center and five other hospitals in the region. It also has a network of urgent care centers, physician practices, and resources for rehabilitation and fitness.

The information was shared at Valley Health’s semi-annual corporation meeting on Tuesday, which was attended by about 85 stakeholders.

“In fulfilling Valley Health’s mission — serving our community by improving health — we make a substantial investment each year in outreach to the communities we serve,” Valley Health President and CEO Mark H. Merrill said. “Our new Community Benefit Report summarizes the IRS-defined work we do outside our hospitals and provides a glimpse of the ways we collaborate with other community nonprofits, educational institutions and agencies to help create healthier tomorrows.”

Community Benefit refers to healthcare and health improvement activities that non-profit hospitals and health systems undertake to address their community’s health needs. Examples include free or reduced cost healthcare to those who cannot afford it and addressing factors influencing health such as food or housing insecurity.

Non-profit or not-for-profit health systems, such as Valley Health, provide these services in lieu of paying federal income tax.

In 2018, Valley Health had $891 million in revenue and $899 million in expenses. The previous year it had $871 million in revenue and $840 million in expenses.

Had Valley Health not been exempt from income tax in 2018, its theoretical income tax liability would have been $8.8 million, according to the report. The Community Benefit supplied by Valley Health was 720.6% higher than the theoretical amount.

From 2014-18, Valley Health’s potential income tax liability was $160.5 million, while its comprehensive community contribution totaled more than $742.3 million, meaning the contribution was $581.8 million more than the projected tax obligation.

“We provide free or reduced cost healthcare for those who can’t afford healthcare,” Vice President of Ambulatory Services Chris Rucker told The Star on Wednesday. “We provide community support for factors that influence health. If you think about, there’s a lot of peripheral factors that influence health — like your ability to pay for prescription medication or access to transportation to help you get to a doctor’s appointment or even simple things like food or housing that many of us are able to fortunately take for granted. [These] are some things that many in our community can’t do. We partner with a number of organizations that address those items that influence health.”

In 2018, Valley Health joined with more than 25 community organizations to address health, wellness and welfare needs. Partners included Our Health, the Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition, free medical clinics, The Laurel Center, and United Way agencies. It also offered numerous educational programs, including sessions on medication safety, first aid, diabetes camps for youth and health fairs.

Valley Health had $80.2 million in bad debt and $17.6 million in Medicare shortfalls in 2018. If those figures are added to the $72.4 million in community benefits, the health system’s comprehensive community contributions were $170.2 million — an 18.6% increase from 2017.

Valley Health’s bad debt and Medicare shortfalls in 2017 were $62.8 million and $19.3 million, respectively.

According to Valley Health, the increase in bad debt expenses from 2017 to 2018 “is the result of decrease of public health insurance exchange plans (Affordable Care Act), resulting in an increase in uninsured individuals.”

— Contact Josh Janney


(7) comments


Did reporters question the figures provided by valley health?


Why are we compared with Lewis Gale which is in Roanoke. Sevondly to receive these benefits you must have no assets including house paid for and vehicle paid for. Some have worked all their lives to achieve this goal. But this unfair to people who earn ss check of 8 to 9 hundred dollars a month. Valley health is a monopoly who is greedy. If you want their "vharity" teguse to work, be a drug abuser, work under the table, illegally cross the border and you will get this charity. Yes, there are some impoverished individuals who need this charity, but they are working and doing the best of their ability to make a living. Everyone seems to think Medicare is a free ride. I invite everyone to live on these wages and really survive


To inform the readers of the Winchester Star, VHS's regional community covers 18 counties serving approximate 1.1 million individuals.

The 2010 census tells us that approx, 26k individuals live in Winchester and 78k in Frederick County. Winchester and Frederick County represents approx 9.5% of the regional population served by VHS.

In my opinion, VHS needs to stop using the term of "community benefit" and start identifying it as a "regional community benefit" when reporting on charity care, bad debt and other free services they give out to the regional community.

VHS has purchased up the local regional hospitals in the last approx ten years:

- Luray, VA

- Woodstock, VA

- Romney, WV

- Berkeley Springs, WV

VHS has replaced the old hospitals with brand new buildings at an approx cost of $30-35 million each.

Are these buildings truly designed to handle all those local communities medical needs or are they just a medical bus stop to the Winchester Medical Center?


What's the difference between a "for-profit" (Lewis Gale Medical Center) and "not-for-profit" (Winchester Medical Center) hospital?

2017 Lewis Gale Medical Center (for-profit):

$29,473,886 - Charity Care

$15,048,688 - Bad Debt

$28,973,999 - Taxes

$33,304,757 - Profits

2017 Winchester Medical Center (not-for-profit):

$38,163,061 - Charity Care

$36,337,714 - Bad Debt

$ 41,427 - Taxes

$52,889,019 - Profits

Lewis Gale Medical Center:

Winchester Medical Center:

Winchester Medical Center Profits since 2000:

2000 $11,917,127

2001 $ 4,262,944

2002 $25,868,766

2003 $35,113,921

2004 $46,711,931

2005 $54,346,679

2006 $57,422,789

2007 $66,617,961

2008 $ 9,500,911

2009 $53,757,390

2010 $53,104,420

2011 $62,029,246

2012 $50,522,325



2015 $71,439,119

2016 $58,416,060

2017 $52,889,019


Biggest differences in 2017:

Taxes ... Lewis-Gale (for-profit) paid $28,973,999 vs. Winchester Medical Center's $41,427

Profits ... Lewis-Gale (for-profit) made $33,304,757 vs. Winchester Medical Center's (not-for-profit) $52,889,019

Steve Cunningham

Jeff, you forgot Valley Health also purchased Warren Memorial Hospital and all associated health/medical related services in Front Royal. They also have medical offices including quick care and Valley Health Shenandoah Memorial Hospital Family Medicine in Strasburg. So their 'regional community benefit' is a continually growing coverage area outside of Winchester and Frederick County.


No I did not. Warren has always been a part of VHS since I've been doing my research.

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