New Report Showcases a Focused Commitment to Addressing Homelessness and Mental Health

June 11, 2019 Michael Connors
June 11, 2019

Renton, Washington—Providence St. Joseph Health, one of the nation’s largest health systems, announced today a 2018 community benefit investment of $1.6 billion. The investment, released in Providence St. Joseph Health’s annual Community Benefit Report, addressed local health needs with an emphasis on homelessness and mental health.

Providence St. Joseph Health serves communities across the West Coast of the United States, which have the highest rate of unsheltered people in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. An estimated 160,136 people experiencing homelessness live in the seven states Providence St. Joseph Health serves, and in California, Oregon and Washington, 47 to 68 percent of the homeless populations are considered unsheltered.

Additionally, the National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that 1 in 5 adults in America experience mental illness. Providence St. Joseph Health’s 2018 Community Benefit Report identifies access to mental health and substance use services as another common and recurring need across the communities it serves.

“We believe that everyone deserves a chance to lead the healthiest life possible through access to health care and basic needs around housing, food and safety, without which there cannot be health,” said Dora Barilla, group vice president, Community Health Investment, Providence St. Joseph Health. “We’re investing in the biggest, urgent health and social needs of the poor and vulnerable because we believe that health is a human right.”

“Our commitment to investing in our communities is rooted in our founding sisters who inspire us to fund services for those who are poor and nurture vibrant, healthier communities. It’s one of the important ways we live out our Mission of service, compassion and healing.” said Rod Hochman, M.D. president and CEO, Providence St. Joseph Health. Thank you to our caregivers and community partners for all they do to serve those in need. Together, we are contributing to a healthier, better world.”

Key findings from the annual Community Benefit Report

Homelessness and mental health are two key challenges that Providence St. Joseph Health has heavily invested in and directly addressed in the communities it serves. The full list of key health and social areas addressed are:

  • Mental health and substance use – Addressing the increasing epidemic with ways to determine root causes as well as early treatment.
  • Social determinants of health, including housing instability, 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 preventive self-care to reduce chronic hospitalization and long-term care needs.
  • Access to services, especially for those who are poor and vulnerable – Finding new ways to make health care more localized and available.

The report also finds that by proactively managing the health of those covered by Medicaid, who tend to be sicker and often struggle with poor social conditions, Providence St. Joseph Health was able to decrease uncompensated Medicaid costs by $84 million. That made it possible to redirect those funds to other needs. For example, the health system provided $43 million more in charity care compared to the previous year, and invested $30 million more in proactive community programs.

To see the breakdown of community investment by state, visit the Community Benefit Report page, and for more information, read the CEO leadership message.


About Providence St. Joseph Health

Providence St. Joseph Health is a national, not-for-profit Catholic health system comprising a diverse family of organizations driven by a belief that health is a human right. With 51 hospitals, 829 physician clinics, senior services, supportive housing and many other health and educational services, the health system and its partners employ 119,000 caregivers serving communities across seven states – Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington with system offices based in Renton, Washington and Irvine, California.

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