The community’s well-being is a priority for Providence and has been for more than 150 years. As a health care provider, we know that well being is about more than just health care. It is about ensuring equity of care for everyone by providing access to a comprehensive suite of social and health services. Access to health care is essential to one's overall physical, social, and mental health and quality of life. We believe we can achieve health for a better world by improving holistic community care upstream through integrated services and breaking down barriers to access, providing more compassionate, humane care and decreasing reliance on hospital care, particularly in emergency departments where costs tend to be higher. Driven by the belief that health is a human right, we made significant progress in 2019, focusing on advocating for health insurance, forming intentional partnerships and making targeted investments that improve care outside of hospitals.
Geography, socioeconomic status, service costs, insurance coverage, family support and cultural sensitivities are just some examples of potential barriers to accessing care. Our intentional partnerships target geographic areas and populations where these inequities are widespread. Our goal is to empower individuals by promoting independence, wellness and self-management.
Integrated programming with local community partners, like Providence’s CARE Network in Northern California, provides on-the-ground resource centers to help navigate people through coordinated services so they can get the immediate care they need and access to long-term resources. Trained professionals offer comprehensive support to low-income, uninsured and under-insured patients, including:
- Completing medical insurance applications
- Scheduling appointments
- Disease education
- Connecting with other community resources such as housing, job training, and substance abuse counseling
The CARE Network is a mission-driven, evidence-based and nationally recognized model serving highly vulnerable individuals through intensive, community-based medical and psychosocial care management.
Qualitative findings from the Community Health Investment data team showed a consistent need to address access to care and resources across the system. We see measurable improvements to health access when we ensure individuals have insurance coverage and appropriately access and use health services in a timely manner. These metrics can help us gauge where access is improving and where more attention is needed.