From CEO Wade Johnson: We're proud of our strong community benefit investments

December 15, 2021

Dear community members, 

I would like to take this opportunity to share some additional information that wasn’t included in the recently published story by Kaiser Health News on Montana hospitals and community benefit spending. The story was shared in Lee Newspapers across Montana, including in Helena Independent Record on Monday, Dec. 13.

The meager percentage of community benefit spending highlighted for St. Peter's Health in the story was due to an error on our fiscal year 2018 form 990, which was amended and resubmitted to the IRS earlier this year, and does not accurately represent our historical or current community benefit spending. The error, which was the result of an antiquated process that has since been changed, included the omission of subsidized health services spending for that year. When the new amended forms are published by the IRS in the coming months, our community benefit spending for 2018 will be approximately 10% and even higher in 2019. This will place us at the highest level of giving for any of the large hospitals or health systems referenced in the article.

Community benefit spending includes a variety of things like charity care, financial aid, subsidized health services, health professions education, and community charitable giving. Even though these services are not financially sustainable on their own, we are committed to providing them based on community need. For example, programs like behavioral health, hospice and palliative care are all subsidized with revenue that is generated by other programs at St. Peter’s Health. Our investment in these services is around $20 million annually.

To better assist those with financial needs, our income criteria for financial assistance was expanded in 2019 and we are one of the few health systems in Montana that provides the financial aid application online. We have transparent pricing information available on a new online cost estimator tool as well, which can be found on our website at We also encourage our patients to connect directly with our financial navigators, who are able to help navigate any challenges associated with health care expenses at St Peter’s Health.

We are proud to share that we have continued to expand our charitable giving and community outreach efforts over the past few years. We support more than 50 local nonprofit organizations and have very active volunteerism and leadership on community coalitions, to improve the health and wellness of our community. From cultivating fresh produce at the Selma Held Community Garden for Helena Food Share to our work on the Lewis and Clark Kids Hunger Coalition and Lewis and Clark Suicide Prevention Coalition, we collaborate with many local nonprofits to tackle some of the community's toughest challenges.

We feel bad that the recently published article didn’t highlight our situation accurately and felt it was important to share this with you. We take our community stewardship very seriously and want you to know we can all take pride in the fact the St Peter’s Health is one of the most charitable health systems in the state of Montana. We care deeply about our community and are committed to the health and well-being of everyone we serve.


Wade Johnson, CEO