The Hospital Community Benefit Program, established by The Hilltop Institute at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), is the central resource created specifically for state and local decision-makers who seek to ensure that tax-exempt hospital community benefit activities are more responsive to pressing community health needs. One of the program’s initial activities is to publish a series of issue briefs on best practices, new laws and regulations, and study findings on community benefit activities and reporting.

This is the first issue brief in a series, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to be published over three years. It presents the emerging federal framework for hospital community benefits set forth by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This brief provides historical background on federal hospital community benefit policy; outlines the new requirements described in the ACA; and identifies new challenges and opportunities for state and federal decision-makers as they begin to develop responses to the new federal requirements.

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