October 06, 2011
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 ...
May 25, 2011
When the alarm went off, I could hear the rain. Not exactly the weather I had hoped for on Saturday as it was the Tour de Cure bike ride to benefit the American Diabetes Association (ADA). By the time I got to Marymoor Park in Redmond, the rain had stopped and I greeted my teammates and friends, ready to ride 45 miles (some more, some less) for the cause. The Washington Tour is one of 80 Tour de Cure events around the country, now celebrating the 20th year for this fun fundraising event.
For avid cyclists like me, this is a great chance for an early season century ride (100 miles!) or a fun fast 45. Or, for anyone looking to pedal for the cause, a moderate 15 mile route is available as well. Anyone can join in the fun for this important cause that affects all of us – diabetes.
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April 04, 2011
Welcome to Swedish’s new blog. Thank you for taking a moment to check it out. We’re excited to have a forum where our physicians and clinical staff can interact with the community and share their expertise and perspectives on health issues.
On this blog, you’ll get a chance to meet different members of the team at Swedish, from our health educators and nurses to our primary-care physicians and specialists. They’ll share tips on how to keep you and your family safe and healthy, and they’ll tell you about promising new breakthroughs in medicine, including innovative treatment options and diagnostic tools being used here at Swedish.
We also plan to use this blog to report on Swedish’s work in the community. As a nonprofit, we’re passionate about strengthening the health-care safety net and improving the health of our region. We’re looking forward to using this blog as a way to highlight our community health initiatives and tell you about so...
March 01, 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...
January 01, 2011
Health care is one of the most pressing and talked about issues of our time. Not a day goes by when the topic isn’t in the news. The cost and quality of health care, access to it, the overall health of the American population, etc., are all subjects of endless debate and political rancor.
My team and I started this series, Perspectives, to help make sense of the rhetoric and share our point of view on what it all means for our local community. We’ve explored the topic from different angles, from why electronic health records matter to the importance of end-of-life planning. Each letter has generated thoughtful questions and comments from many of you. I’ve appreciated and enjoyed the dialogue, and I encourage you to keep sharing your thoughts and opinions as the series continues.
Elevating the dialogue
Another way we’ve tried to elevate the conversation is by bringing leading thinkers in health care to the Seattle area. Through a partn...
October 01, 2010
In this quarterly series of letters, Perspectives, we’ve examined several issues and trends that impact the future of health care. But one of the great untold stories we have yet to discuss is the difference philanthropy makes.
While there is endless debate over the government’s role in health care, one thing you don’t hear much about is the role of philanthropy. Yet behind the scenes, private individuals throughout the country are doing their part to strengthen the health-care safety net by making charitable donations to community hospitals and health-related causes. It’s a spirit of generosity that is quietly transforming – and helping to save – nonprofit health care in the United States.
Philanthropy critical to nonprofit mission of hospitals
There was a time when hospitals considered philanthropy “nice to have.” But today, charitable gifts are critical to the mission of every nonprofit health institution. E...
May 01, 2010
Welcome to the latest installment of Perspectives. Since we started this series 18 months ago, we’ve examined a number of issues that impact the future of health care. But one topic we have not yet addressed is the severe shortage of physicians in this country.
About 60 million Americans are affected by the shortage in that they live in one of 3,000 U.S. communities designated as medically underserved, meaning there are not enough doctors to meet the needs of the local population. Our state has a higher rate of physicians than most, but even still, there are 147 communities right here in Washington that carry the medically underserved designation.
The physician shortage dates back, largely, to the mid-1990s when experts predicted the country was headed for a surplus of physicians. As a result, medical schools froze enrollment and began graduating fewer and fewer doctors.
The shortage has been exacerbated by aging baby boomers, who require more medical attention as they...
February 01, 2010
The goal of this series, “Perspectives in Health Care,” is to provide a point of view on various aspects of the future health care. Because end-of-life planning has become such a lightening-rod issue, I thought it would be worthwhile to make it the focus of this letter.
At some point in the health-care debate, the issue of end-of-life planning became associated with “death panels” and the idea that a group of bureaucrats will decide who lives and who doesn’t. That’s a shame because that’s not what end-of-life planning is about. In fact, it’s the opposite of that.
End-of-life planning is about you taking control and making your own decisions about how you want to live out the last few years, months and days of your life. It’s about understanding your options in advance; consulting with family and physicians (even pastors and attorneys); and making your end-of-life wishes known via advance directives and living wills.