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'community partnership' posts

Swedish and Providence Join Forces to Improve Health Care

These are some of the most challenging times in our country’s history for both health care and the economy. As Greater Seattle’s largest nonprofit provider, we believe it is Swedish’s responsibility to lead the region through these difficult times and serve the community no matter what the circumstances. Today, I am very proud to announce that Swedish is leading the way in partnership with Providence Health & Services. Both of our boards recently approved an innovative plan to join forces and form a new integrated health system to serve Western Washington.

There are still many details to be worked out, and the affiliation is pending regulatory review. But when finalized, our new system will dramatically improve health care for the region and serve as a local solution to the nation’s health-care crisis.

What makes our affiliation so innovative is that it is not a merger or acquisition. Rather, it is a unique structure that will allow us to work together to coordinate care for the region while respecting our individual identities and heritage.

In other words, Swedish will still be Swedish. We are keeping our name and will not become a Catholic organization. Likewise, Providence will still be Providence. They will keep their name and maintain their Catholic identity.

What will change, however, is that we will closely collaborate to coordinate care seamlessly for patients from Centralia to Seattle to Everett by:

  • Harnessing the power of electronic health records to better serve patients and improve clinical outcomes
  • Using our collective data to drive rapid quality and safety improvements
  • Sharing resources to assure underserved communities have access to the continuum of care, including subspecialized care and innovative research
  • Working together to implement best practices and gain operating efficiencies so that we can reduce costs and make health care more affordable for government payers, commercial insurers and employers.

A partner with a shared mission

Global to Local: Impacting the SeaTac and Tukwila Communities

Continuing Swedish’s long-standing commitment to improve the health and well-being of our region, Swedish has partnered with Washington Global Health Alliance, Public Health of Seattle & King County, and HealthPoint to address disparities in local healthcare through a groundbreaking initiative: Global to Local.

The Global to Local initiative is a new approach in applying global solutions to local healthcare challenges in underserved populations. The partnership reached out to SeaTac and Tukwila, which are just 15 miles south of Seattle and are both strong, vibrant communities with a long history of activism and community pride. However, with the settlement of new immigrants and refugees there have been many challenged for access to healthcare. Currently there are over 70 languages spoken in SeaTac and Tukwila schools and households. Many families have never seen a primary care doctor or do not know how to navigate through the healthcare system. These challenges have increased the need for additional services to address the basic needs of the community.

What will Global to Local do?

Come See the New Swedish/Issaquah This Saturday

It’s not every day you get a chance to build a hospital from the ground up. In fact, the last time it happened in King County was 25 years ago. Help us celebrate this historic milestone this Saturday, July 9 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the new Swedish/Issaquah, and get an up close and personal view of an innovative approach to health care that’s all about helping the community be well, get well and stay well.

What's happening at the event? Click for more information.

Specialty Dental Services now available for the uninsured at Swedish

What do you do if you don’t have insurance and need healthcare? The Swedish Community Specialty Clinic is here to help – and it is designed exclusively to treat low-income uninsured or underinsured patients.  We provide advanced medical care at no cost by volunteer specialists from Swedish and several other physician groups.

At Swedish Community Specialty Clinic, we:

  • Provide another resource for those who have no other options for specialized care.
  • Combine several existing and new services under one roof and improve care through innovations such as electronic health records.
  • Server as a dedicated space for volunteer physicians to meet with patients.
  • Include a support staff to help maintain physician schedules and set initial visits and follow-ups.

“The Specialty Clinic is a testament to Swedish’s commitment to serve the entire community,” says Swedish CEO  Dr. Rod Hochman. “We want to set a new standard in community health and clearly demonstrate that charity care is a core part of our non-profit mission, which continues even in a down economy.”

The clinic, which cares for patients with appointments on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., is located near advanced medical imaging facilities and other specialty-care professionals. We estimate more than 2,000 patients will be seen at the facility each year for dermatology, general surgery, hand surgery, orthopedics and podiatric surgery services.

Patients likely to use the new clinic:

We talk the talk - let's start walking

Today (April 6) is National Start! Walking Day. Swedish is partnering with the American Heart Association to mobilize walkers from Cherry Hill, First Hill, Ballard, and Met Park (some of our campuses) to participate in National Start! Walking Day. We're coordinating this effort to encourage and motivate Swedish employees to walk one mile at noon.

Perspectives on Healthcare - Spring 2011

Whenever I talk to people about Swedish, they are often surprised to learn we’re a nonprofit organization. Many people, even those who’ve lived here all their lives, just assume Swedish is a for-profit healthcare system. But the truth is Swedish was founded as a nonprofit institution 101 years ago, and we have remained true to those roots ever since.

The Puget Sound region is fortunate that most of the hospitals in our local area are either private nonprofits like Swedish, state or county hospitals like Harborview or public- district hospitals like Evergreen. The for-profits have not yet made significant inroads into our local community.

That’s not the case in other parts of the country. Of the 5,000 hospitals in the United States, about 18 percent, or 889 hospitals, are for-profit. And that number is growing. Most of these investor-owned hospitals are located in the South and Rocky Mountain region. Here in Washington, only six of the state’s 95 hospitals are for-profit.

The issue of nonprofit vs. for-profit is one I am very passionate about. I’m a big proponent for nonprofit health care and believe it plays a vital role in the fabric of society. That’s why I decided to focus this issue of Perspectives on what nonprofit health-care providers do for the community. I also wanted to use this as an opportunity to talk specifically about Swedish’s nonprofit mission and share some of the innovative new ways we are working to address the community’s health needs.

For-Profit vs. Nonprofit

What’s the difference between for-profit and nonprofit hospitals? One of the main differences is that for-profits are accountable to shareholders. Nonprofits are accountable to the community.

As a nonprofit, Swedish is not governed by investors. Our Board of Trustees is made up of volunteers from the community who work to make sure we’re: 1) meeting the health-care needs of the region; 2) delivering high-quality health care; and 3) managing our resources responsibly. Our board members take their role of preserving Swedish as a community asset very seriously and are focused on ensuring that Swedish is available as a resource for those in need for many years to come. In other words, they see to it that Swedish serves the interest of the public, not that of private investors. And it is worth noting that many members of our Board have made their own significant philanthropic investment in Swedish and thus our community’s health.

Nonprofit hospitals are tax-exempt organizations. We maintain this status by providing a number of services that benefit the community – charity care for the uninsured being one of the most vital. Tax-exempt hospitals in Washington state fill this critical need by providing a combined total of nearly $280 million in charity care per year. Washington hospitals also provide an additional $514 million in other services that benefit the community, including Medicaid subsidies, health-education programs, health-screening programs, support groups, medical education and clinical research.

Not being a public-district or government-owned hospital, Swedish does not raise revenue through tax levies. Instead we rely on the generous support of our community to help us invest in the health of our region. That support helps us to actively do our part to meet community needs and continuously look for ways to do even more.

In 2010, Swedish provided $112 million in services for the community, including:

  • $25 million in charity care
  • $67 million in Medicaid subsides
  • $20 million in health education, screenings, clinical research and other community benefits

Innovative Ways Swedish Is Serving the Community

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