Fiscal year 2017 saw further development and expansion of our local and national collaborations. In three short years, our joint ventures with Saint Joseph Hospital and SCL Health, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and our new venture with Jefferson Health, cumulatively have added more than $16 million to our bottom line — $7.4 million in fiscal 2017 alone. In addition, these ventures have improved respiratory care and research around the nation, enabling us to provide better access to more patients across a wider geographical area. They also have strengthened our reputation nationally.
The investment markets rebounded strongly during the year. Combined, our National Jewish Health diversified portfolios gained more than 12.5 percent, resulting in revenues of $11.9 million during the year, compared to a loss of $3.0 million the prior year.
Patient service revenue remained strong as evidenced by an almost 10 percent increase in year-over-year billings. In spite of this growth, net patient service revenue declined 1 percent due to reductions in Medicaid reimbursement. Patient demand remains strong, and National Jewish Health continues to expand services to meet that demand. New clinicians were successfully recruited in pulmonology, oncology, cardiology, rheumatology and pediatrics.
We successfully diversified our grant portfolio with new collaborations with the U.S. Department of Defense and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). We increased revenues from clinical trials and expanded investigator-initiated, privately funded projects. We also recruited new research faculty. These ongoing efforts paid off with a 7 percent increase in research revenues.
Health Initiatives also had a very strong year. We received two new state contracts. In addition, the “Tips from Former Smokers” national media campaign, funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drove significant call volume to the Quitline. Operational efficiencies also improved. In total, Health Initiatives revenues increased 30 percent year over year.
Due largely to the increasing cost of pharmaceuticals, new recruitment, the growth of Health Initiatives calls, expanded research grants and general inflation, expenses increased 4 percent year over year, which is consistent with the prior year.
With the support of our loyal donors, fundraising completed another successful year, raising $19.5 million. These funds are crucial for continuing our mission to cure devastating respiratory and related diseases that afflict and kill millions every year. Donations help us recruit the brightest new physicians and scientists, build new facilities, and continue our missions of care, education and research. Lower than expected bequests and the timing of some potentially substantial gifts, resulted in total philanthropy being lower than in the prior year. For the last 118 years, philanthropy has been the foundation of our mission and our success as the leading respiratory hospital in the world.
Overview of Revenue and Expenditures