SEATTLE, April 27, 2011 – In the 2010 fiscal year, Swedish increased its total community benefit giving by more than 40 percent, providing $112 million to charity and uncompensated care, health research programs and community health education services. Swedish provided $66.5 million in subsidized health-care services, $25.4 million in free or subsidized charity care assistance, $8 million in medical and health-care education, $7.9 million in research benefits and $4.3 million in community health services. This dramatic uptick in community benefits is closely tied to the economy, which has exacerbated the need for these services. In total, 14,639 patient visits were covered by charity care or were provided with financial assistance and 12,668 patients paid nothing for their care.
“We are a not-for-profit organization with a 100-year charitable history and a mission to be the best community partner possible,” said Dan Dixon, vice president of external affairs at Swedish. “It is our fiduciary responsibility to ensure that everyone in our community has access to the best available, quality care, including screenings and health education programs. Everyone in our health-care system is committed to the important responsibility we have to the health and well being of the communities we serve.”
Swedish’s charity care program offers free or discounted hospital services for those who cannot afford care, many of whom are underinsured or have no insurance at all. The program provides financial assistance in cases where the yearly family income is between zero and 400 percent of the federal poverty level and it ensures that financial constraints are not a barrier to the provision of care.
The program’s community health education program is committed to helping patients, families and the general public make informed choices about their health. The program offers classes on topics such as cancer, childbirth, diabetes, orthopedics, nutrition, safety and injury prevention, stress management and more. These community health education classes are available to patients, families, community members, physicians, nurses and clinical staff.
Swedish’s community benefits program also supports medical research projects. At any given time, there are more than 600 research studies being conducted by Swedish-affiliated clinicians and other investigators, making Swedish an active participant in the local, regional and national research community.
Each year, Swedish develops strategies and solutions for providing a community benefits program and plan that meets the health-care needs of people in the community. The organization is a leader in charity and uncompensated care among private, non-tax-supported institutions in the community and most of the dollars to support charity care come from Swedish’s operating budget.
2010 program highlights include:
- Swedish partnered with Washington Global Health Alliance, Public Health – Seattle & King County, and HealthPoint to address disparities in local health care through a groundbreaking initiative: Global to Local. The Global to Local initiative is a new approach in applying global solutions to local health-care challenges in underserved populations.
- Swedish expanded its Community Specialty Clinic service offerings and opened a new clinic and office on its First Hill campus in Seattle. The clinic is partnered with King County Project Access and is a testament to Swedish’s commitment to serve uninsured and underinsured patients in the community.
- The Swedish Ballard Community Nursing Clinic offered free vaccinations, blood-pressure checks, foot care and other basic services to low-income seniors in the Ballard community. And the Ballard Teen Health Center, in partnership between Swedish and the Seattle Public School District, provided students at Ballard High School with physical- and mental-health services.
- Swedish Patient Assistance Fund provided patients and their families with financial support for a range of items and services, including utility bills, wheelchairs and walkers, rent and mortgage assistance, skilled nursing and home care, and more. Food banks, clothing banks, patient transportation and comfort therapies for hospice patients are also part of this program.
- Swedish’s community benefits exceeded its tax exemption by more than 70 million dollars.
Information about Swedish’s community benefits programs, services and offerings can be found online at http://www.swedish.org/About/Overview/Mission---Outreach.
Swedish has grown over the last 100 years to become the largest, most comprehensive non-profit health provider in the Greater Seattle area with 8,500 employees, 3,000-physicians and 1,200-volunteers. It is comprised of four hospital campuses (First Hill, Cherry Hill, Ballard and Edmonds); emergency departments and ambulatory care centers in Issaquah, Redmond and Mill Creek; Swedish Visiting Nurse Services; and Swedish Medical Group – a network of more than 70 primary-care and specialty clinics located throughout the Greater Puget Sound area. Swedish recently opened a new emergency department and medical office building (MOB) on its Ballard campus and will open a new MOB and hospital in the Issaquah Highlands in the summer of 2011. In addition to general medical and surgical care, Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialized treatment in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer care, neuroscience, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, pediatric specialties, organ transplantation and clinical research. For more information, visit Swedish online at www.swedish.org, www.facebook.com/swedishmedicalcenter or www.twitter.com/swedish.
In 2007, Swedish embarked upon an ambitious $100 million fundraising campaign. Campaign investments are used to support a wide-variety of initiatives throughout the health-care system, including cancer, heart and vascular, women and children, neurosciences, and orthopedics as well as programs to support underserved populations. To date, the campaign has secured gifts totaling more than $74 million. For more information or to support the campaign, visit www.campaignforswedish.org.
- To read a related article posted Dec. 19, 2011 on the Modern Healthcare magazine Web site, click here.