Hospitals have long been places people go when they are ill, going to have a baby, or to get a test.
Not-for-profit hospitals, in order to keep that IRS status, have been required for the past few years to file a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) every three years, along with a plan to address health needs, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.
An economic impact statement describes the value of a hospital (or any organization) to the community. It tells, in part, the story of how wages and benefits the hospital pays its employees - as well as money it pays to vendors for services and products -- gets translated into purchases by employees and vendors,when they buy gasoline, groceries, homes, and other products and services from shops and stores in the larger community. Those shops and stores make purchases, pay taxes, and hire employees. This helps the economy of the community.
The earliest hospitals were more like hospices, where poor people could die in peace. The first hospital in the U.S., founded in 1751 by Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond. served the mentally ill and the poor. People who could afford it had the doctor come to their home for care and procedures.