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About Rush Community Benefits and Outreach

At Rush University Medical Center, providing the best possible care for patients isn't just our job. It's our mission, and it's at the heart of everything we do. Since our founding in 1837, we have dedicated ourselves to serving — and to enhancing the lives of — our neighbors on the West Side of Chicago and beyond. Learn more about our commitment to the community below, as well as in our community benefits reportcommunity health needs assessment and in a compilation of videos.

Quality Care Regardless of a Patient’s Ability to Pay

The largest portion of the community benefits Rush provided in fiscal year 2013 was more than $183 million in unreimbursed care for our patients. Rush provides the following types of unreimbursed care:

  • Charity care — care that is provided at reduced or no cost for patients who qualify for financial assistance under one of Rush’s policies and who provide information that allows Rush to properly identify them.
  • Unrecoverable patient debt — payments that were expected but not made by patients for health services that Rush provided.
  • Costs not fully reimbursed by Medicare and Medicaid for patients covered by these programs — Rush ranks among the top 10 hospitals in Illinois in both the number of Medicaid (public aid) patients treated and the total number of days these patients spent in the hospital.

Community Outreach

Volunteers from Rush — from students to physicians and nurses to support staff — provide health services for people who are homeless and have low incomes by collaborating with a variety of local clinics and programs to provide services such as the following:

  • Eye screenings
  • Immunizations
  • Physical exams
  • Prenatal care
  • Primary health care services

In addition to providing clinical services, students and staff at Rush serve as community mentors through a variety of programs. Some of the services they provide including the following:

  • Collect unused medical supplies and equipment for hospitals and clinics that are in need
  • Lead health education seminars
  • Serve as mentors, advocates and friends to chronically ill pediatric patients
  • Tutor children and teenagers, encouraging interest in math and science


In fiscal year 2013, Rush provided more than $43 million in funding to help cover the costs of educating and training the next generation of physicians, nurses and allied health professionals — many of whom practice in Illinois after graduation.


Rush provided more than $16 million this past fiscal year to support research activities aimed at improving care for patients, regardless of their ability to pay. The following are examples of the projects Rush supports:

  • A study that shows regular mammography screening can help narrow the gap in breast cancer deaths between black and white women.
  • A study by neurological researchers from the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center that suggests people who were emotionally neglected as children may have a higher risk of stroke as an adult.

For more information on the charitable endeavors above, along with other benefits Rush provides to the community, explore our 2014 community benefits report.

 Community Health Needs Assessment

As part of Rush’s commitment to the community, the Medical Center conducts periodic, comprehensive community health needs assessments (CHNA) and an implementation plan that serve as a foundation for continuing to develop and implement strategies to address our community needs. For purposes of the CHNA, our community includes the near West Side, lower West Side, West Town, East Garfield Park, West Garfield Park, North Lawndale and South Lawndale.

Our current CHNA identifies the following as our community’s top health issues:

  • Social determinants such as poverty, violence and safety, lack of education and unemployment
  • Access to health services
  • Physical activity, nutrition and weight control
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease and cardiovascular risk factors
  • Women’s health
  • Mental health
  • Asthma and chronic respiratory diseases

And Rush implements five strategies for addressing our community’s needs:

  • Partnerships and programs that provide more direct, accessible patient care.
  • Educational resources that promote preventive lifestyle behaviors, disease management or both.
  • Training and education for people of all ages for careers in health science.
  • Community-based research to develop evidence-based approaches for addressing health needs.
  • Resources, including direct funding and money that has been raised through organizational-wide initiatives, toward building partnerships with organizations that address health needs in the community.

For more information about Rush’s CHNA, download the full report or email

Visit our Department of Community Affairs for information on the assistance the department provides to the community to improve health and education, especially for children and young adults.

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