Thrive by IU Health

June 28, 2022

Q2 2022 Quarterly Report: Affordable care

Q2 2022 Quarterly Report: Affordable care

Crystal Hinson Miller, president of IU Health Foundation, is a national leader in healthcare philanthropy. Here, she shares her personal reflections.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that I get asked a lot about the cost of healthcare. Being affiliated with the state’s largest healthcare system, I have come to expect it. And I don’t mind. I think we have a great story to tell.

Before I get to that story though, let me offer some context on the cost of healthcare. While Americans often think they experience the greatest healthcare sticker shock after they’ve been to the hospital, inpatient care actually accounts for less than a third of healthcare spending (prescriptions and professional and outpatient services generate the bulk of costs). Also, hospitals have limited control over many of the factors driving up their costs, including the rates they’re paid by third-party insurers, increasing labor costs and the negative impact COVID-19 has had on hospital revenues.

Public health matters greatly and public health funding works upstream to address key health needs before hospitals downstream administer care. Indiana ranks 48th in the nation for public health funding, putting a large burden for offsetting that spending gap on hospitals, which must respond to the dire health needs of an underserved population and absorb costs for uninsured patients.

All of this leads me back to the great story we have to tell, which is about IU Health and our critical IU Health Foundation donors.

The very existence of IU Health Foundation is one demonstration of IU Health’s commitment to addressing healthcare costs. Through our supporting organization – IU Health Foundation - dedicated to raising funds to accelerate our work, IU Health can focus on delivering outstanding healthcare services to our patients. In 2021 alone, generous donors contributed more than $28 million to the Foundation, and we distributed nearly $23 million to initiatives focused on improving the health of all Hoosiers.

What’s more, donors’ investments within IU Health – through our Foundation - aren’t going primarily to new hospitals, clinics or medical office buildings. Because of its operational excellence, IU Health funds capital growth through long-term financial planning and investments. This means that philanthropists and grantors can contribute more to new programs and initiatives that improve the health and livelihood of Hoosiers.

Many of these activities directly target factors that address social determinants of health and support IU Health’s vision of making Indiana one of the healthiest states. Programs targeting nutrition, maternal and infant health, substance use disorders, mental health and more are complemented by those that take aim at non-health-related factors — areas such as economic equity, employment opportunities, educational attainment and access to transportation.

While those social determinants traditionally have not been addressed by healthcare systems, studies have shown that they have a considerable and long-term impact on general health and well-being. As such, by attacking these challenges today, we believe we can reduce the cost of care tomorrow.

IU Health Foundation donors also help to slow the rise of healthcare costs through their support of cutting-edge innovation and precision medicine. By improving our understanding of diseases and the best ways to treat them, innovations growing out of IU Health facilities and treatments pioneered by IU Health professionals often can help to prevent and address health problems before the need for more costly interventions.

This “healthcare of tomorrow” approach is incredibly valued by our donors. Did you know that many of our supporters are anonymous when they give? They don’t give simply to have their name on a building or a plaque — they give because of their own experiences and out of a desire to help the Hoosiers of tomorrow lead healthier lives. I always knew that our donors were special, but recently I was reminded of just how much when I heard two affirmations about our philanthropic approaches. First, when I met this spring with a couple of my healthcare philanthropy peers from different parts of the country, one expressed surprise and admiration when I described our donors’ willingness to seed forward-thinking initiatives and community-focused programs. “That’s a really innovative strategy for your foundation,” one of them told me. “Many of the donors I work with are asked to support the greatest needs of our system – which are primarily capital focused.”

Second, through some recent campaign-focused research, many IU Health Foundation donors said that what we’re doing in the community and in addressing healthcare equity is important to them, as is the work we’re doing to drive the kind of excellence and innovation that ensures Hoosiers don’t have to leave the state to receive cutting-edge care. In fact, of the 100 or so interviews that were conducted, 51% shared a primary interest in supporting our community-facing work.

As IU Health continues to respond to the pressures that drive up healthcare costs, the support of donors like you will become increasingly important to our mission of making Indiana one of the healthiest states in the nation. And that brings me to the best part of the story we’re able to tell: Our donors are focused on improving lives. It’s that part of the story that earns the respect of our national peers, and it’s that part of the story that gives us the opportunity to pursue innovative approaches to reducing the cost of healthcare.

For that part of the story, I am truly grateful to you.

Building the future of healthcare.

Read more from IU Health Foundation President Crystal Hinson Miller about the impact of philanthropy in her letters to the community.

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Building the future of healthcare.