Benefits to the Community

Services and programs provided by UC San Diego Health enhance the lives of patients and residents of the community in many ways. Our benefits to the community include providing medical care to those in need, as well as programs and services that promote health and healing in response to identified community needs.


Programs, services or activities that are considered a community benefit must meet at least one of these objectives:

  • Improve access to health care services
  • Enhance the health of the community
  • Advance medical or health care knowledge
  • Relieve or reduce the burden of government or other community efforts

Assessing the Needs of the Community

UC San Diego Health participated in the Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties’ (HASD&IC) state-mandated, triennial Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) in 2010. This needs assessment, titled Charting the Course VI, was completed by Community Health Improvement Partners as the contracted assessment agency and provided an overview of priority health needs in San Diego County.

In 2012 and 2013, UC San Diego Health was a participating member of the Steering Committee for the HASD&IC 2013 Community Health Needs Assessment project. Utilizing the skills of the Institute for Public Health at San Diego State University as the contracted facilitator, this comprehensive needs assessment offered an insightful look at the current and emerging health needs of our diverse region. The results of that CHNA can be found at

These needs assessments have helped guide UC San Diego Health’s community benefit implementation strategy.

Benefits to the Community in 2014

In fiscal year (FY) 2014, UC San Diego Health provided more than $182,542,000 in community benefit programs and services. These include:

Uncompensated Care – $36,298,000

An overall measure of the care we provide for which no payment is received from patient or insurer

Government Sponsored Care – $74,482,000

Unpaid cost of Medicare, Medi-Cal, indigent care programs, State Children’s Health Insurance Programs and other safety net programs

Health Professions Education – $43,582,000 

Encompasses the costs of teaching physicians, nurses and students, as well as scholarships and funding for education

Community Health Services – $2,677,000

Health education programs and clinical services within the community

Subsidized Health Services – $24,483,000

Includes emergency and trauma services, hospital outpatient services, behavioral health services, and palliative care and hospice

Financial and In-Kind Contributions – $20,000

Financial and in-kind contributions and support to community organizations to improve the health of the community

Community Access to New Medicines and Treatments

As the only academic health system in San Diego, we enroll participants in hundreds of clinical trials for promising investigational drugs, treatments and devices each year. Every day, our physicians and scientists work together to bring breakthroughs from clinical trials to our patients’ bedsides. Our research efforts, which totaled $625,983,000 in FY 2014, give local residents access to the latest treatments and therapies for advanced illnesses and complex health conditions.

HERE Initiative

UC San Diego Health, in 2011, conducted an additional, focused needs assessment in the Southeastern and South Bay regions of San Diego County, areas noted for their ethnic diversity and status as historically underserved communities. This needs assessment was conducted through face-to-face interviews with nearly 150 community leaders in the fields of health, education, business, social services, faith-based organizations and others. This information, combined with an analysis of quantitative data related to health and educational disparities in at-risk communities (including prior Community Health Needs Assessments) informed the development of UC San Diego Health’s award-winning HERE Initiative.

The HERE Initiative, which stands for Health + Education + Research = Empowerment, is a comprehensive, nine-project effort that focuses available resources on those communities of greatest need, with each project addressing the criteria listed. These projects are focused on facilitating access to:
  • Essential health care services
  • Education and workforce development
  • Community and research partnerships
The HERE Initiative represents an annual direct contribution of approximately $80,000 in financial support to partner organizations, with additional in-kind contributions to the community equating to $256,000. Launched in 2012, the HERE Initiative has already exceeded many of its goals. Its accomplishments have been heralded by the Association of American Medical Colleges Group on Institutional Advancement with the 2013 Premiere Performance in Public Affairs Award, recognizing the best public affairs program in the country among academic medical centers and teaching hospitals. Additionally, the HERE Initiative has been recognized by regional and national organizations for its design and outcomes.

As part of developing the HERE Initiative, the Center for the Investigations of Health and Educational Disparities (CIHED) was created at UC San Diego. The mission of CIHED is to promote and support research for a new understanding of the cultural, environmental, physical, behavioral and biological causes that contribute to health and education disparities in America. These investigations are likely to result in practical interventions that will allow us to reduce the health and educational gaps between ethnic and socioeconomic groups nationally, especially within the San Diego area and surrounding community.