Providence St. Joseph Health makes significant investment in community benefit to build healthier populations

Michael Connors

Answering the call to assist those most in need, not-for-profit health system Providence St. Joseph Health (PSJH) invested more than $1.6 billion in charity and support for local communities in 2017. This investment addresses many of the most urgent health and social issues impacting PSJH’s seven-state area.

“Of all that we do across Providence St. Joseph Health, I have always been proud of our longstanding commitment to community benefit,” says Rod Hochman, M.D., president and CEO of PSJH. “This commitment to giving back is rooted in our founders, the Sisters of Providence and Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, who inspire us to fund services for the poor and nurture vibrant, healthier communities. Each year, we fund many great expressions of this vision, not just assisting a few scattered programs, but by going deep into the communities we serve, impacting factors that truly contribute to healthier populations.”

PSJH was formed in 2016 by the coming together of Providence Health & Services and St. Joseph Health and has sustained its significant investment for two straight years. In both years, funds have been directed at free and low-cost care for those who require financial assistance, research, community services, grants, donations to support community partners, and alleviating shortfalls in government funding from Medicaid/Medi-Cal.

“OLE Health truly values the relationship we hold with Providence St. Joseph Health. Through this long-standing partnership, OLE Health has been able to leverage PSJH’s vast resources to maximize our impact in the community for our region’s most vulnerable populations,” said Alicia Hardy, chief executive officer with OLE Health, a Federally Qualified Health Center and PSJH community benefit partner in Northern California.

The Catholic, not-for-profit health system attributes its focus on community needs to a 160-year-old heritage that began when Catholic Sisters built hospitals and cared for the poor amidst the harsh landscape of the American West. Today, the health system of 114,000 caregivers works with community groups and other innovative partners to continue bettering conditions for all.

A major goal of PSJH’s 2017 community investment is funding more than medical care and going far beyond the traditional hospital setting by addressing social factors that make a population healthy, such as education, housing and access to transportation and nutritious food. The intent is to focus on these issues “upstream,” proactively helping communities to thrive and impacting the overall cost of care for all populations.

To highlight the many ways the community benefit fund touches lives in need, a PSJH website chronicles the programs and people positively impacted. Examples include:

  • Partnering to end homelessness in Alaska by funding long-term housing and providing much-needed medical care.
  • Screening patients for their ability to access nutritious food at family medicine clinics in Oregon – the only state with rising rates of food insecurity – and helping those in need put food on their tables.
  • Helping vulnerable Montanans breathe easier during wildfire season thanks to donated HEPA filters, and implementing an innovative Produce Prescription Program that helps patients who can’t afford fresh fruit and vegetables on their own.
  • Supporting counselors in Northern California’s Humboldt County as they help families enroll in and navigate complex health coverage plans. 
  • Connecting the homeless frequenting the emergency room at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, Calif., with the resources they need to rebuild their lives.
  • Addressing social isolation which impacts a high percentage of immigrant families in Los Angeles through the Building Stronger Families Program.
  • Sheltering those who are homeless and need physician-prescribed bed rest after ED discharge in Washington state.
  • Supporting Covenant Dental Clinic in Eastern New Mexico and West Texas, which repairs the smiles of thousands who lack insurance.

About Providence St. Joseph Health Community Benefit Investment

PSJH determines where help is needed most by conducting a local needs assessment in each of the communities it serves and identifying those programs and services that help create lasting solutions. Recent findings have shown the greatest needs across PSJH’s seven-state service areas include: access to health care; mental health and substance abuse; food insecurity; housing and homelessness; services for the aging population; neighborhood violence and human trafficking.

To learn more about how Providence St. Joseph Health assists those in need, visit

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