Non-profit organizations have traditionally been accountable for financing and providing quality health care to the communities they serve. Any fees or investments made on behalf of the organization are reinvested to benefit the community to improve quality, service and efficiency. Types of non-profit health care organizations are medical providers, associations serving a general membership with a specific section of the industry, societies that concentrate their efforts on a disease and broad-based entities incorporated and run by private citizens.
Health Care Providers
Hospitals, nursing homes, community or federally qualified health centers serving low-income and medically underserved communities, home health care services and hospice care are often run as non-profit organizations. They may be run by local, state or government agencies, religious entities or be financed by private investors. The goal of such providers is to provide the best quality services at the lowest possible price. Many of these providers operate under umbrella organizations that administer services in a variety of categories. Examples include Advocate Health Care in Illinois, Ascension Health in St. Louis, Missouri and Banner Health in Phoenix, Arizona.
Organizations that have a broad membership, such as the American Medical Association, work to improve public health through a variety of means including continuing education for its members, public education and advocacy on health care issues. Other non-profits providing similar services are American Academy of Family Physicians, RxAssist—Patient Assistance Program Center, American Public Health Association, Research!America, The Wellness Community and Urban Institute.
The American Cancer Society is arguably the most visible of all of the non-profit health organizations that fall into this category. Other entities devoted to specific diseases or conditions are the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, Lupus Foundation and National Stroke Association. Organizations of this type are devoted towards finding a cure for their target diseases and have substantial fund-raising arms. Monies raised are used to fund research, clinical trials and patient and public education.
Private citizens who found and manage non-profit organizations have a vision about providing health care to a specific group of individuals. The reach may be global as in the World Vision Foundation, which works to provide children in poverty with food, clean water, education and health care. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is another group that helps to provide global medical services. Others, such as The Mendez Foundation, grew out of a local organization in Florida into a national entity devoted to administering prevention education programs.