Providence Texas New Mexico annual community report

Our community benefit investments are an important and visible way we live out our Mission of service, compassion and healing. Our Providence family of organizations is dedicated to creating health care access for everyone and improving the health of our communities. Our community benefit program identifies unmet needs and responds with tailored investments designed to improve health and well-being and is central to how we care for our populations.

For the 2020 Texas/New Mexico annual report, Meredith Cunningham, Media and Community Relations Manager for Covenant Health, sat down with Tavia Hatfield, Regional Director of community health investment for Texas and New Mexico, and Regional Chief Executive Walter Cathey, to discuss how Providence is helping build healthy communities in both Texas and New Mexico. 

Below we have included some options for you to learn more about our community benefit investments in Texas and New Mexico. 

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Below is a raw transcript from the conversation Meredith had with Tavia and Walter.

Meredith:

Hello, and welcome to our broadcast. I'm your host Meredith Cunningham, media and community relations manager for covenant health. Joining me today is Tavia Hatfield, she's our Regional Director of Community Health investment for Texas, New Mexico, and also our regional chief executive Walt Cathey, thank you guys for being here with us today. Let's go ahead and get started. And today we're talking about the community benefit programs that we have going on here in the Texas New Mexico region. But first, before we get into the nitty gritty details, let's first hear a little bit about what both of your roles entail here at covenant TV, let's start with you. 

Tavia: 

Sure, yeah. So as Mary said, I'm tavia Hatfield, and I am the community health investment director for Texas in New Mexico. And I have been in this role about 1011 years now, then with covenant closer to 15. And in this role, we really focus on investments in our community. So they're working with nonprofits and community partners and schools, and also offering direct programs related to community benefit and community outreach. So as a part of that, we do a needs assessment. Every three years where we talk to the community, we pull it both primary and secondary data. And we really try to find out what the most important needs, that we have the ability to address within our health system or partner with others to address. And so that is the focus of our work is finding ways that we can meet those needs and support our community. 

Meredith:

Perfect. Can't wait to learn more about that. And well tell us a little bit about what you do. 

Walter:

Yeah, so my title is, I'm the regional chief executive for Texas, New Mexico region. You know, we cover a geography basically the size of the state of South Carolina, but totaling about 1.2 million people on our geography. So it's a lot of rural environment. But covenant really does a unique job and to kind of how we cover that geography both in West Texas and Eastern New Mexico. We have several hospitals in the city of Lubbock, we have a hospital in Plainview hospital, and Levelland and we just did an acquisition of a hospital in Hobbs. And so we are really still growing and expanding our footprint from how we can hopefully treat and better the community needs out there. And in the overall area, you know, for me, I've been in this role for five weeks. But I have been with covenant for 24 years. So this is definitely my home. 

Meredith:

Perfect, thank you both. So let's go ahead and get started and talk about why does Providence and specifically our region for Covenant Health, participate in community benefit programs? 

Walter:

They can come in it's a Christian based organization. We both support the Catholic ethical religious directors as well as the Methodist faith-based doctrines as well. And for us it's really important, if you look at kind of what the sister started us with, they talked a lot about going out into the community, finding a need out there and solving the need. That's really what healthcare supposed to be about. We're still trying to live to that even today, healthcare is and always will be a service industry, but how we deliver healthcare is really important to us as a differentiator. So we do a lot of surveys where we get community benefit needs back to us. And then we go and really talk to a lot of our partners within the community and really find opportunities about how can we better healthcare environments, influence financial support of different models that are out there to really drive the wellness of our community in a positive manner. And really that's what's important for us, we want to service everybody, that's what we are about. But really making sure that our community is taken care of holistically, and that we are really taking care of those in need is really important to us.  

Meredith:

Tavia, would you like to add anything? 

Tavia:

Yeah, no, I would just, you know, echo what Walt has said, it's a part of our true mission. It's a part of our heritage and our legacy that we that we do this work. The Sisters of Providence and the Sisters of St. Joseph, both originally started reaching out to their communities, talking to the neighbors, seeing what the needs were. And while we do that in a little different capacity, we are still doing that. So, I really feel like it's just who we are and what we do. And again as Walt mentioned, we work with us community partners, we try to identify those needs. And I think one thing that I would add is, I think it's important that we're looking at as a health system here in Texas, in New Mexico and really as a whole with Providence. Not just the health care needs but also the social determinants. Those are things like housing, food insecurity, education, safety, even building a sense of community and belonging for the folks that we serve because we know those social determinants are really cool. And key to having a healthy community and to preventing some further needs down the road with people in the future. So that's a big part of what we look at as well. 

Meredith:

To getting to the core of what's causing this health issue. Yeah, it's great. All right, so our next question is, what are some of the highlights from the community benefit programs that we have going on? Let's start with you Tavia. 

Tavia:

Yeah, so our most recent needs assessment which we actually completed on December of 2020, which obviously with that timeline with a little bit different than any we've ever had before. With COVID we had to get really creative about how do we talk to our community? And how do we still gather this information? but we were able to do that, I think quite well. The priorities that we kind of saw bubbled to the top based on that most recent needs assessment, our behavioral and mental health. And underneath that it's kind of including everything from treatment, intervention, prevention with all ages in our community. And then the second big priority that we saw was access to health services and including in that and under that are some of the things I mentioned regarding those social determinants. So, it's access to health care services but it's also access to mental health care, to community navigation, to healthy food and education and how do we really reach out to our kids in schools and our seniors and everything in between. Sometimes people kind of typically think of as Health Access as buildings and building new places but that's not always the case. Sometimes it's taking those barriers out or helping address those barriers that people are facing that make it hard for them to access care or to have a healthy environment that they live in. So that's another one. Our third one is housing and homelessness. So, we've done a lot of work this year around supporting in particular veterans homelessness, and how can we help our community to achieve as low if not zero homeless veterans. So, we've worked closely with key partners like VETSTAR and the VA, and several other housing agencies. And then our fourth priority this year was food insecurity and nutrition. With all of these in addition to working with partners, we also run direct programs which I think is something that's really unique and different about covenant health. You don't see that all the time when you look at health systems across the nation. We run a direct program and expert access to care around mental health. We have a community counseling clinic that's dedicated to providing counseling, access to those who are often the most vulnerable and uninsured, underinsured and also people who live in the region and may not have any services like that in their small community. We also do a dental outreach clinic both in Lubbock and in Plainview. The Plainview dental clinic in particular is a fantastic partnership with their health department. And so that's been a newer program that we've been really excited about. And then I mentioned with the housing we've been working with a lot community partners and providing funding and time support and wraparound services. We have a care management team that goes out into the community meets people where they are and they do that for people who are housed in people who are not housed and try to provide those wraparound services and help support connections and do a lot of social work. And then with food insecurity again we have our health education program. We work closely with Catholic Charities and we work closely with several other agencies to help provide food vouchers. We work closely with the YWCA providing health education and the Dream Center which is a nonprofit here in Lubbock that's connected with a church and just blessed the different ways that we tried to address these things and run both direct programs and provide financial support to our partners. 

Meredith:

A lot of great initiatives going on. Thank you for that quick round up. I know there's a million more things that we do. But well, I want to ask you Tavia mentioned multiple times many of our community partners, would it be possible to do all that we do without these partnerships? 

Walter:

No, absolutely not. You know, when you talk about a community, and we talk about how we interact from a faith-based institution; the only way to make improvements inside of our communities is for collaboration. And that's really what the core has to be about. You know, within covenant I think just last year, we kind of gave away and really donated out there roughly $76 million dollars of community benefit care for our community which is a pretty good substantial amount of money. We tied 10% of our net revenue to the bottom line that goes back out into our community through these community services and really kind of spearheads a lot of the work that Tavia and her team gets to do out in the community for us, and really kind of helps our community out overall because there's a lot of financial gaps out there that we get to feel from that perspective, and we bolster a lot of the communities through that, but it also helps us bring other people together to really solve community needs out there and figure out unique ways for us to address some of these barriers that we have. I mean that's what our job is supposed to be about, is really in healthcare, how do we improve health? not just waiting for you to come see us, but that means that we are going to need to partner with people and collaborate to do a better job of that overall. 

Meredith:

Great answer. Tell me a little bit about how philanthropy and giving back as part of Covenant’s mission, we already mentioned, the sisters, but let's dive a little deeper into that.  

Tavia:

Okay. You know, I would just say I think we've talked a lot about different investments that we make through providing grants and contributions and donations to our committee partners. But in addition to that, we also provide a lot of in-kind support and what I mean by that is our employees do a lot of volunteering in the community, on behalf of Covenant. In addition to that, through our programs that I mentioned we actually placed employees caregivers on site in some of these locations to help fill gaps. So, a great example of that is both with Catholic Charities and with Lubbock Children's Health clinic. We actually have staff and caregivers who go and serve on site in those locations that is providing in-kind support, which is essentially financial support that prevents those agencies from having to hire additional staff. So we are able to share some of our staff time and our expertise with them. And I think that again, it's just a core piece of our mission and investing back into our community. And then the last thing I would say is we also were very lucky at Covenant to have our Covenant Foundation and have a great partnership between Community Health investment and our Covenant  Foundation. Their whole job is to fundraise and to find ways to support Covenant and to work with our community donors. And they've been excellent at helping us and community health investment. When there's gaps that maybe it's something that we don't have in our budget or something new that has come up. For example; last year with COVID we didn't plan for all of that budget so we were able to partner with the foundation to provide some extra support for some COVID outreach for education outreach, for supporting United Way both here in our Lubbock area also in hot. So I think our philanthropy department and our Covenant foundation is a fantastic partner, and also focuses on that mission of how do we support our own caregivers and our own work, but also how do we support what they're doing in the community? 

Meredith:

Walt, what do you think about that connection between our mission and what we do? 

Walt:

Yeah, you know, for us is vital. You talk about what we're doing really today with YWCA and our really trying to influence our kids population within our community and really see if we can actually change over the healthcare norms that are out there, you know, how we deal with food from a child perspective and how it actually benefits them from an adult perspective to decrease comorbidities, and all those type of thing. I think it's extremely vital to really start intervening earlier in kids' lives to really drive healthcare changes, because maybe if we actually are really successful in our jobs, they may not need us in the future. I think that's kind of all of our goals is to see if we can actually get out of our own jobs sooner or later. 

Meredith:

I want to follow up with a personal question for both of y'all. Obviously, our organization has a connection to this mission, but it would be hard to do what both of you do on a daily basis without your own personal passion for these projects. So Walt, we'll start with you. What is it that connects you personally to this mentioned? 

Walt:

You know, I've been in this community for a long time .I came here to Lubbock to go to school. I started Covenant roughly four months later. This is where my family is. This is where my girls go to school, making sure that this community is taken care of and really seeing the impact through all my years of being at covenant and what we have in this community. It's special. I mean there's not a lot of places that I've ever been around that have this type of impact in their community. And we hear it all the time. And I think we're extremely blessed for what we do inside this organization and how this ministry actually services the community. I think more and probably my role and I think it takes this role, because we're both out there a little bit more in the community than a lot of our caregivers, we get to hear that constantly. And people constantly come up and talk about how Covenant has impacted their lives and impacted their family's lives. And it's all the little things that we do, I think that really makes up what Covenant is, and while we're so special in the community, the size and so yeah, I definitely think my family being here, and the impact that we get to see is absolutely amazing to know that we have an impact. 

Meredith:

Tavia, what about you and your passion? 

Tavia:

Yeah, I think a lot of what he shared I would agree with and that resonates with me. I grew up here, and my family largely are here and my children. I think working to make a better place and a healthier community, and how that connects that to our most basic pieces of our mission. You know, serving all without distinction, serving our neighbors. We're all neighbors, we're all part of this community, and trying to make our community better and more healthy for the upcoming generations is super important. And so I think, that's well said. Covenant I think is very special in that way that we are very ingrained in our community, we are very connected. We're not just waiting, you know, we're not just a hospital that's waiting for people to come to us, we're really getting out there and trying to see how we can help. We've got a lot of great connections with our school districts, so that we can, you know, connect with, with younger students, younger children and their families. Sometimes even more importantly, these young families, who maybe just need a little bit of help to get ahead in life or to be able to provide some of their services to them. So I think that's awesome. And I think another thing that we do really well at covenant is we have a lot of our own education opportunities. And we have nurses for collaboration with Lubbock Christian University. And so a part of our investment too, is bringing up new leaders and bringing up people who hopefully will come in to healthcare and continue this legacy and continue working to really make that mission alive in our community. 

Meredith:

Tavia you bring up a great point, I'm actually going to circle back to that right now. You know, you mentioned the covenant School of Nursing, but Walt I want you to expand on our partnership, not just with them but also with Texas Tech University and all of our programs for our medical leaders, because your data is exactly right. We are literally training the future doctors are going to take care of our community. So can you elaborate on that? Walt. 

Walt:

yeah, you know, we talk a lot about collaboration. You've heard us mention that over and over in this little segment. You know, Covenant is a great ministry, we have great healthcare systems that we provide inside of our communities. There's no doubt about that. But I think we also are a little bit realistic. We know we can't solve everything inside being a health system and so having those collaborations is vital, whether it's with the YWCA or with Texas Tech on different endeavors. And, you know, I think one of the things we really pride ourselves on is our partnership with tech and the growing partnership that we have with tech. We have somewhere in the neighborhood of 60. You know, third and fourth year student medical students on campus, we have over 30 residents on our campuses to really kind of train the next year's leaders, we do a lot with the Allied Health Program over at Tech to where we can train pts, OTS speech language pathologists, you know all those various things including medical lab science personnel. It's really important for us, you know, Lubbock’s is a unique environment. It kind of resides in its own little island, just with a lot of desert around it. Not a lot of water.  

Meredith:

It's called an oasis wall. 

Walter:

Yeah, I think it's important for us if you look at a lot of the studies they say that if you train residents, most of them stay within 90 miles of where they're actually finish their training. And there's just not a lot of opportunity outside of Lubbock. There's a lot of really good Rural Health Care communities out there but if you really wanted to get into sub specialty market, you're gonna have to be in Lubbock or You might get to go to Amarillo, Midland, Odessa and you're going to have to go to the Metroplex on the eastern side of the state. That provides us a unique opportunity to train ingrain them inside of the mission work that we do inside of Covenant and I think that differentiates us significantly, you know, the fact that we talk about our faith, or we lean on our faith here every day that we do care. I listened to a lot of our doctors and talk about how that influences them to stay inside covenant. And once they've finished their graduations, they want to do that, because they can see that natural intersection between health and healing and faith. And I think that's important for us to keep you know, expounding upon that and growing that for our own community and culture here. 

Meredith:

So let's continue the comparisons. And let's talk again about our sisters and what they were able to accomplish when they first started and then how does that compare to what we're doing today? And what we're trying to accomplish? Tavia take it away. 

Tavia:

Okay. You know, I think it's interesting, when you look at, and I mentioned this earlier, but you know, the sisters really went out to the community and said, What can we do for you. And so that's when you compare that to what we do today, we still follow that same process. We don't sit in the hospitals or in the clinics and say here's what we think the community needs. That'd be pretty easy to do and because we are such a close knit community, we might be pretty close sometimes in what we think those needs are. But I think that is something that we continue to do, just like the sisters did in early times, is go out and ask what are your needs? What do you need, and then look at our resources, look at what we can do, as Walt said before, we know we can't do it all by ourselves. And that's one reason why we would set priorities. You know, I mentioned our core priorities as a part of our focus for the next three years based on our needs assessment, and that's in our annual report. But those are not the only needs in our community. And we know that, those are just priority needs that we heard from the community that we also can match with the resources that we have, and expertise that we have. That doesn't mean that we are not invested and interested in the other, you know five or 10 or sometimes more issues in our community. And I think that is again, something that that was done early on with the sisters, is they look at what are the needs? What can we do? At what resources do we have? What expertise do we have? Or do we need to build? Right? So do we need to invest in certain things so that we can create those expertise? And we still do that, and then again just find, you knowm  where there are areas that maybe it's not a place for the hospital to be able to take the lead? Who can and who can we help support to do that? So I think that those are important things that have been done since the beginning of this ministry, even before it was really a health care ministry and things that we continue to do now and hopefully we will pass on to the next generation of leaders to be able to continue doing those things, and really meeting the needs, where they are, and finding ways of being creative and innovative. But also knowing we have to partner, we are not a silo, we can't do this alone.  

Meredith:

Walt, anything you want elaborate on. 

Walter:

Yeah, I think one of the things that has always really stuck with me about the sisters is you know, when they came over, their real passion was around education in the western frontier. And then when they actually got into Eureka, California at the time that's what they were doing. And that's what the community really needed help with at the time. And that's where their passion was, and then unfortunately, the flu epidemic hit and the needs changed, and their processes changed. And that's how they actually entered into healthcare. It wasn't that it was a great business model or it wasn't that this was something they were just dying to do. It was the need at the time. And I think that's what's unique about those ladies. And I think there's something that we try to aspire to all the time is, it's great that we're in the healthcare industry now. But what are the needs out there? And how are we going to tackle those, you know, how are we going to continue to deal with this surging mental health needs that we have in our community? And who are the partners that we really need to make sure that this is successful? Because we can't do it all? And you really need to find out who are going to be your partners and who's really to kind of really invest in this and change the normative nature of how we live to make an impact. And I think that's really important and it's a great lesson to always kind of for all of us to keep in the top of our minds that just because what we're doing today does not mean it's what we need to be doing tomorrow. And we're very willing to change because it needs change out there just as fast. 

Meredith:

And that's a great lead into my next question, which is when you do identify new areas of needs and your community, how are we able to meet those needs? How do we create a new program?  

Tavia:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, we definitely shift and create new programs and create and look at different investments, as needs change and their needs arise. And I think that's one thing, that being part of a large system with Providence health is very helpful. Because when we're creating new programs, we definitely look at what are best practices whether are evidence-based practices, and we have access to a lot of experts across the nation, because of our size. And I think that really helps us as we craft those new programs or new ways to address things, new strategies. We also have a fantastic board here at Covenant. And we have a great community benefit board committee, and we pull in experts from across our city and across our region, to serve on those committees and boards. And so they bring a lot of expertise as well. So when we're creating a new program, or looking at a different type of investment, we get a lot of voices at the table that are helping us and so that I think is a real strength for us, when we're when we're working on new ways to meet issues. And, you know, there's really no better example, Walt mentioned the flu epidemic here, the last 18 months we've been facing. Often on surges with COVID. And that's been something nobody could have necessarily planned or known would go on as long as it has. And so we've really had to rely on expertise and best practices and our community partners to say, how do we keep supporting this? And how do we help, you know, help our community through this process. So it's definitely always changing that we really rely on expertise of this fast system that we have, and that we're part of. 

Walter:

I'd say I think it's really important to really understand the intersection we have, you know with Tavia’s team, looking at all the best practices based on the community needs assessment, and how it actually flows all the way up through our organization. So a community benefits only one of five of the subcommittee's of our board. And that's how that's how important it is for us. And then really, we talk about it at the main health system board, and we make sure that we're all on the same page about where we are funding sources, or what news services we're trying to create. And all those types of things out there to make sure we're constantly having our eye on what the community need is and how we're going to start solving those each year. 

Meredith:

Well, this is my favorite part of the conversation. And that's always the look ahead of what we hope to achieve. Obviously Walt in your new position, he said five weeks in here. But then Tavia also has some great experience in her position. So tell me what you both are hoping that we can achieve with our community benefit programs in the future? And Tavia we can start with you. 

Tavia:

So you know, some of the things that we're really focused on around those priorities that I mentioned, at the beginning of this time today, we really hope to continue to grow partnerships to support mental health and behavioral health, including substance abuse in our community. We know that is a huge, huge need for all ages. And so as I'm looking, you know, into 2022, I'm really looking at how does the community health investment team continue to work with the entire hospital, all the different service lines, and also with all of our key partners to support that work, because we know that we need to move forward. And we know that there's a huge need in that area. So not that our other priority areas aren't super important, and lots of work going in there too. But if I said, you know, what is one of the things I'm really looking at and hoping to have some successes with, it would be around the mental behavioral health outreach fees. 

Walter:

yeah, I think for me, the The first thing I'm really focused on is access to healthcare. And really, how do we change the access points of healthcare, you know, that has to really stop being the main hospital? How do we create partnerships in certain areas of our communities, whether it's through civic centers, or churches to really drive various access points out there instead of it just being the traditional healthcare model. You come to us whether it's a primary care physician office or an urgent care or an ER, I think we have to get out of our own way. And that really starts seeking out new partnerships and those avenues to really drive healthcare changes and really get to get more to a preventative model of healthcare. The second thing for me is really about affordability. Healthcare is extremely expensive. The vast majority of our country can't afford it. And we're going to have to figure out some unique ways to solve that challenge and really drive down the cost of health care and I think we are going to see a lot of unique things coming out of the Covenant umbrella and really kind of how we're going to change what healthcare delivery is. Like in West Texas and eastern New Mexico and regards to that. And then the last two, I think are kind of unique, especially in the West Texas environment, we're gonna have to try to drive some digital innovation into our marketplace. And, you know, I think that will create some unique asset access points. If you look at our population, we have a very youthful population because we have such large universities in Lubbock, whether you're talking about Texas Tech, LCU or South Plains College, or even New Mexico Junior College. I think we have to really figure out how to deal with that age demographic as well as our geriatric population who still wants that direct connection point and that doctor who they can sit down and talk to about all their issues, and so I think we're going to have to diversify, how we deliver healthcare and where we deliver healthcare. I think it's going to be really important to us. So it's using those two in concert to figure out the other issues for us to solve. So one size does not fit all and healthcare never has never will. 

Meredith:

Well, thank you guys, both for joining us today. Tavia Hatfield and Walter Cathey. We appreciate everyone listening or sending in your questions. We look forward to them in the future. If you're looking to learn more about the community benefit programs in Texas and New Mexico. In our annual report, you can please visit providence.org/annual report and make sure to follow both Providence and Covenant Health on social media. Thanks for joining us today, everyone. 

 

 

 

 

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