About Community Benefit
Addressing the most pressing social factors that contribute to community health
At Providence St. Joseph Health, our mission calls us to be agents of radical change for health. We’re to be a source of healing love and a beacon of hope … in the world, within each of the communities we serve, and for every person we encounter – especially those who are among the most poor and vulnerable in our society due to social conditions.
To do this, we’re making a significant pivot from health care to health. With 51 hospitals and 11,906 licensed beds across our family of organizations, we’ll continue to be here in times of sickness, and we will also make investments into the health of our communities to support community conditions for optimal health and well-being. To live into our commitment to being a partner in health, we have to do things differently.
Traditionally, health services have been focused on geographically anchored hospitals and clinics with all patient care touch points surrounding the acute care center. Our new model puts patients and communities in the center, supporting them not only with expert clinical care, but also with a range of community-based care, programs, interventions and services. In 2018, we partnered with new and existing local and national organizations, enabling us to cast a wider and deeper net than we would be able to alone.
Improving the health of our communities is fundamental and a commitment rooted deeply in our heritage and purpose. Our mission calls us to be steadfast in serving all with a special focus on our most vulnerable neighbors. This core belief drives the programs we build, investments we make, and strategies we implement.
It also informs the intentional way we approach our community benefit investment across our seven states – $1.6 billion in 2018, and how we continue to address health and wellbeing in our communities. Read on to learn more about our approach to this work where you will find stories and vivid examples of how we’re addressing key health issues in the communities we serve.
Responding to the key challenges
Knowing where to focus our resources starts with our community health needs assessment, an opportunity in which we engage the community every three years to help us identify and prioritize the most pressing needs, assets and opportunities.
Our family of organizations and the communities we serve prioritized the following key needs and responses:
- Mental health and substance use – Determining root causes, as well as early treatment to help address a national epidemic.
- Social determinants of health, including housing insecurity, food insecurity and social isolation – Partnering with local organizations to leverage resources, educate and form sustainable community support.
- Chronic diseases – Providing education on nutrition and preventative self-care to reduce chronic hospitalization and long-term care needs.
- Access to services, especially for the poor and vulnerable – Finding new ways to make health care more accessible.
Each of these areas is complex and requires thoughtful partnerships to help address. We work closely with local agencies and resources, build on the strengths of our communities, and scale programs that best respond to the identified health needs.
Our vision – Health for a Better World
Health for a Better World centers on a guiding belief that health is a human right. We believe everyone deserves a chance to lead the healthiest life possible. That’s why we’re continuously innovating to create access for all and foster healthier communities. We believe that to make the greatest impact we need to leverage the assets of our organization in partnership with other organizations of goodwill that are directly addressing fundamental needs better served outside of a clinical care setting.
This vision is ambitious even for the most compassionate of organizations. Yet we believe that health care in its current form is unsustainable. We need to understand and address the root causes of poor health such as food and housing insecurity, isolation, access to education and nutrition, and find holistic ways for communities to improve overall well-being.
Our system foundresses – the Sisters of Providence and of St. Joseph of Orange, multiplied few resources to serve the poor and worked with boldness and flexibility to help those most vulnerable by building schools, hospitals and orphanages. Our affiliated partner organizations are committed to providing safe, quality and affordable health care to all. Together, these legacies are the foundation for our commitment to push on even further.