New Frontiers of Health: A Partners in Care Interview Series with Rod Hochman

February 2, 2017 Rod Hochman

In this, Part One, he talks about Providence St. Joseph Health’s mission and the importance of extending the reach of healthcare into the community setting.

Ask Rod Hochman to talk about the story of Providence St. Joseph Health, the organization of which he is President and CEO, and he will most likely begin by asking a question. “How many organizations do you know that are 160 years old, have a net revenue of $22 billion and were founded by women?” Of course, the answer is very few, if any. Add that the women were Catholic Sisters who travelled from Europe and Canada, and that the organization they founded now employs 106,000 people serving 11 million patients annually across seven states and the success story of Providence St. Joseph is even more improbable.

That improbability, a pioneering spirit and a sense of pride in doing things differently is something that clearly energizes Hochman. “Why have we been successful? Because our philosophy has been to go deep in every community we serve” he notes. “We don’t just do hospital care, we do outpatient care, community-based mental health services, home care, telehealth services and even housing.” Indeed, in addition to 50 hospitals, more than 820 clinics, and 43 telehealth sites, Providence St. Joseph Health – the name for the new organization that combined Providence Health & Services and St. Joseph Health last year – also boasts a high school in Burbank, CA, and the University of Great Falls, in Montana among its services.

But it is “commitment to the mission” that Hochman sees as the “secret sauce” in Providence St. Joseph’s growth to become the fourth largest not-for-profit health system in the U.S.

“The whole mind, body and soul connection is really key to the heritage of Providence St. Joseph as a faith-based organization. We think they’re all related and that you can’t treat one without the other. While we celebrate our Catholic heritage, Providence St. Joseph is actually a diverse family of organizations that includes partners with unique heritages that encompass other faith traditions and secular backgrounds. Providence St. Joseph Health includes Providence St. John Health Center, Facey and Hoag in Southern California, as well as Convenant Health in West Texas, and Swedish Health Services, Kadlec Regional Medical Center and Pacific Medical Centers in Washington state. We respect the diverse traditions within our organization. The one thing that connects us is our collective mission to provide quality care to all, especially the poor and vulnerable.”

The best way to achieve that mission, Hochman believes, is to be embedded in the communities that Providence St. Joseph serves. “We’re big believers that taking care of people in their own homes is the way to learn what’s really going on with someone” he says. “We are passionate believers that we are going to solve healthcare issues, not through more doctors, but through a team-based approach, working with people like social workers and home health aides – community-based teams that can help extend the reach of what we do in healthcare. We also need to leverage technology to deliver care in more convenient settings. We are offering ways for people to be able to request a house call using an Uber-like app or see a doctor virtually from the convenience of their smart phone or tablet.”

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