Providence cross-regional annual community report

Providence cross-regional 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 2021 Providence cross-region annual report, Justin Crowe, SVP of Community Partnerships sat down with Providence leaders Beth Schenk, Executive Director of Environmental Stewardship, and Megan McAninch-Jones, Executive Director of Community Investment to discuss how Providence is helping build healthy communities. 

Below we have included some options for you to learn more about the community benefit investments across the Providence ecosystem. 

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Justin Crowe: 

Hello and welcome to our live broadcast sharing Providence's annual report, and community health initiatives. I'm Justin Crowe, Senior Vice President for community partnerships at Providence. As a reminder, the information provided in this event is for info purposes only. If you have any medical questions, please reach out to your primary care or your health care professional. Let's begin.  

Joining me today in this live event is Megan McAninch-Jones, our executive director for Community Investment Strategy and evaluation. And Beth Schenk, our executive director of environmental stewardship. Welcome.  

Beth Schenk & Megan McAninch-Jones: 

Thank you. Thank you, Justin. Nice to be here.  

Justin Crowe: 

So, we're pleased to share our annual report showcasing our commitment to the health of our communities. And this report really highlights how we give back and how we invest upstream in health for our communities. So why don't we start with some questions, Megan, and Beth, please help. Tell us a little bit about yourselves and your roles that you serve in Providence? Megan, let's start with you. 

Megan McAninch-Jones: 

My pleasure. Thank you, I have the privilege of leading our Community Investment Strategy and evaluation, which includes the Community Health Needs Assessment and our community health improvement planning process. So, our team provides the data and technical support around community engagement, as well as some robust resource mapping that supports each of our regions as they go through this process. And in addition to that, we're really accountable for implementing a cohesive strategy for how we address those most frequently prioritized health needs, and how we show up in our communities to meet those needs and how our work shows up and shows an impact in our community. Sorry, that's speaking too fast there.  

Justin Crowe: 

Thank you, Beth, how about you? 

Beth Schenk: 

Well, I am so pleased to be here. And I'm also so pleased to be the executive director of environmental stewardship for Providence. I'm a nurse, and I've been with Providence for over 30 years. And over that time, I have seen care from the bedside, yes, but also, I've seen how committed Providence is to every patient and family we serve, and also how deeply involved we are in the communities we serve, through community benefit philanthropy, advocacy, education, and more. And the annual report that we're sharing today covers a lot of that, for environmental stewardship. This is also an important commitment for the communities we serve, and also our greater community, the planet, as we do our part to care for our common home, which is necessary for us to meet our vision of health for a better world. So, I'm pleased to be here. Thank you. 

Justin Crowe: 

Great, thank you both. So I think it goes without saying that 2020 was a really challenging year. And it really required a quick and an agile response to our community and to our patient needs. So I'm interested in your perspective on how the annual report reflects Providence's adaptive and agile response in 2020. Megan, let's start with you. 

Megan McAninch-Jones: 

Sure, I think probably most important to me is that this annual report really shows how Providence stay true to our mission in supporting and engaging with our communities throughout the midst of the pandemic, really through investing in prioritizing the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve. On this annual report, we get to highlight stories from each region of how we're meeting those specific community needs, and how we come alongside different partners to move forward across our key initiatives. In 2020, we contributed nearly one point set or just over $1.7 billion in community benefit across the communities we serve, including $362 million, In grants programs, we knowingly operate at a loss to meet direct needs, through subsidized health services, and other proactive spending that ultimately complements our patient focused community benefits such as charity care. One notable change that we had in 2020, as well, was the transition away from sponsoring specific events such as fundraisers or galas. And really redirecting those resources during the pandemic to directly support our community partners and program delivery and specific outreach efforts. 

Justin Crowe: 

Oh, that's great. Megan, thank you. You know, I think that last pivot was really important because our community nonprofit partners really faced an existential crisis in the early part of 2020. And I think we were there to be a partner and to support them best be interested in your perspective? 

Beth Schenk: 

Well, 2020 was a year like no other, as we think back to what has happened in these pasts now, what 18 months almost, and Providence really served as it usually does, by responding to the needs of the day responding to the needs in our communities and in our in our globe. So, some of the work that Providence advocacy did particularly was really demonstrating what you said before Justin agility with addressing the needs that COVID brought to us from working on more Medicaid expansion in our states to helping practitioners different clinicians practice across state lines, we were really needing to move around our resources. And, as is often the case, we've partnered broadly across all of our region's seven regions across the west, plus our physician partners, nursing pharmacist, other clinicians, and the communities we serve in order to make sure that we were addressing relevant needs for what people were struggling with to get through the pandemic and to have the ups and downs that we saw across that year, it was just amazing. Now in my own work, I also see this same response to the needs of the day, which is, you know, one of the things that sisters left with us is that they wanted us to be able to respond to the needs of the times. So, one of those also that came out in 2020 kind of amazing is our very bold commitment about our carbon footprint. So, in April of last year, we announced our goal to become carbon negative by 2030. This is the boldest commitment in US healthcare, and that we did during the pandemic, because that too, is an issue in our communities and in our globe. So, we describe successes and improvements from across our system in different regions, from solar panels to wind power, to gardens, recycling, chemicals, reduction, all of these are necessary pieces in cleaning up our world. And this is important in the end, because in the beginning, too, because pollution does not affect us all equally, more vulnerable populations are more exposed, they have less cushion to recover from events like wildfires or bad air pollution days. Further, they're more likely to live in fenceline communities that are closer to major freeways, incinerators, or heavy industry, which puts the health of those communities at risk. To help address some of this, Providence has developed an environmental justice collaborative, so we can ensure that we are seeing these issues and assessing them and taking them into account when we make those investments that Megan talked about with community benefit and other ways that we invest in our communities, to help them develop and thrive in healthy and equitable ways. So, it was a big year. 

Justin Crowe: 

Oh, thank you. But you know, I'm really glad you raised that issue, because I think a lot of folks don't realize the disproportionate impact that environmental degradation has on particularly the economically poor, the vulnerable in our communities of color. And so it really is a social justice issue. And it's a link to kind of our broader focus on social justice as an organization. So, you know, kind of jumping on that, you know, Providence has really tried to serve under resourced populations, and to advance health equity and social justice in our communities. And we really have done that in four different areas. So I want to kind of highlight those areas, and then I'd love to get some examples from each of you from the annual report. So, the first is foundations of health, we know that to ensure our community's most basic needs, such as food, and shelter, and education. But that's really foundational, that you can't have health without that. Similarly, we really looked at reducing the barriers to care so that we can provide equitable access to compassionate compare care, regardless of where you live, and who or who you are. The third thing is really around community resilience and building capacity at the local level, to keep our communities strong and stable. And then finally, really innovating for the future, or how do we pursue innovation to really help people live their healthiest lives? So those are the four kinds of themes for our annual report in the four areas we focus. I'd love to hear some examples from each of you on those. And Megan, let's start with you again. 

Megan McAninch-Jones: 

Sure, you know, there are just so many wonderful examples of this work. A few that really come to mind for me around that theme of removing barriers to care. Access to Care is consistently identified as a need through our various community health needs assessments, particularly for communities that are underrepresented in the public data and otherwise. And so, some of the examples of our work in this space include community navigation services, a great program we have in place in Texas, supporting our low income and uninsured community members to ensure that they have adequate access to primary care, and to help address their basic social determinants. Justin, as you noted, another huge area of our focus with foundations of health and otherwise is really addressing those social determinant needs and social risk factors at the population level. So where and how we are coming alongside with our communities to address the crises in affordable housing, access to shelter, and making sure that particularly school aged children and seniors who might be experiencing social isolation are supported both through visitation as well as through food security support initiatives. So, we really kind of span the gamut, and how we address these needs, that varies region to region and Market to Market based on who those partners are and the specific opportunities. And you know, our advocacy team is just a great partner in making sure that we're making all of this come together. The only other thing I'd highlight too from the lens of community resilience is the excellent work of our St. Joseph community partnership fund. They really pivoted to be able to provide funding and direct support to our communities that had experienced wildfires. And so that disaster relief and opportunity to really support our caregivers and our communities, in that time in the midst of so much else that was already happening, is really a highlight for me, in how we how we come together from that space. 

Justin Crowe: 

Thank you, Megan 2020, so many different things happen. It's easy, just focus on COVID. And yet, there were the wildfires and many other challenges as well. So thank you for highlighting that. Megan, I'd be interested or Beth, I'd be interested in your take on some example stories, or some examples from this. 

Beth Schenk: 

Yeah, well, again, there's so much but just echoing a little bit of what Megan said and tying the food insecurity work. This is a great example of how that links to a sustainable future in terms of our climate change, and waste. So, one of the things that we advocated for in 2020, was really supporting the California edible food recovery regulation that requires 20% of discarded edible food to be recovered and donated to someone who can actually, you know, get nourishment from it. So, we're taking that beyond California, and spreading that throughout our entire health system. So that's an exciting step forward. Also, we had worked on food scarcity at Southern California, and the children's lunchbox program in Anchorage, Alaska. So, these are all ways that we provide nourishment and also reduce waste. So, I love these Win Win circumstances that tie the immediate health of people's needs to our long term health in carrying for the communities and the planet. Another area to bring up is, again, talking about environmental stewardship, which is where I spend most of my time, we've launched the WE ACT framework. And this is highlighted in the report is something that we talk about quite a bit. So WE ACT stands for waste, energy, water, agriculture, food, chemicals, and transportation. And by using that as both a framework and a communication piece, and a way to measure the actual impacts of carbon pollution, this has gone far and wide already in just one year. And as mentioned, that's highlighted in the report. And then I wanted to just talk a moment about community resilience, again, in responding to natural disasters. So, you talked about fires, Justin, and we've already heard that this year, it's kind of looking dry in the West. And all of us who live you know, really west of like the Dakotas probably are starting to get used to the smell of wildfire smoke in the summer. And so, this is an important issue for our community health. circumstances, people who might have asthma or might have any sort of lung disease, are made sicker by this. And so, this is a way that I can already tell our attention is shifting, as we all of our ministries are really along the west coast, and from Africa, from Alaska, all the way to Texas, were impacted by this. So, our work toward finding homes after the Oregon wildfires was really important in our disaster response and preparedness initiative, that really helps through the St. Joseph community partnership fund, when people are struggling after you know, an unforeseen event or an event that happens so fast, you really can't, can't deal with it. So, these are continued ways that Providence stays relevant and timely, and is serving the need where we're at hits the hardest, and I'm so proud to be a part of that. Thank you. 

Justin Crowe: 

No, thank you, Beth. You know, I think both of you did a great job of highlighting really the diversity of work that we do everything from community programs to kind of environmental work, you know, another thing that kind of jumps to mind for me is the work that we did in the advocacy space. So not only were we involved in advocating for Medicaid expansion and things like that, but we were also involved at the local level and ensuring that there was a moratorium on evictions, particularly for the economically poor. And so, I think that's a really important component that Providence comes alongside our communities in a lot of different ways. So, Megan, maybe if we go to the next question, I'd love to hear how a little bit about Providence as Community Health Needs Assessment and really how you use data to help guide to this, and how we invest. And I'd love to hear an example that kind of demonstrates how that comes to fruition. 

Megan McAninch-Jones: 

Yeah, absolutely, this is that this is really the sweet spot and where I get so excited to talk about this work. And, you know, Beth and Justin have both mentioned the fact that, you know, the sisters call us to respond to the signs at the time. And one way that we get to do that is really through our triennial Community Health Needs Assessments and staying true to that heritage of going into our communities, understanding their needs, and then developing plans for how we respond to those needs. And say, you know, most all nonprofit hospitals, most hospitals in the US conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment. But one unique feature that we include with ours is actually a mapping and visualization tool in ArcGIS, which really helps us to look at our data, even within its geography. This helps us understand where the greatest needs are based on that data. And then really how we can best locate or develop specific partnerships to ensure that the access is there for those who need it most. In our listening sessions, and our key stakeholder interviews, we really strive to hear from those with lived experience of the needs we're trying to meet, so that we aren't trying to solve problems from within our own mental constructs, but really engaging the community and conversation around what's already working and where we can build upon to address those needs. So, a few specific examples that come to mind, one, a few years ago, with our team in Oregon, using clinic level and community level data, we were able to identify a few key communities where we could actually co-locate a high performing social service agency in the clinic or hospital lobby. And that really reduced the barrier for our providers and care teams to asking patients about their needs related to social determinants such as food security, housing, stability and utility assistance, because they knew there was a resource right there to be able to support those patients and community members. That program has now been up for the last five years, it has actually expanded across the state to several other markets with different community partners, depending on the needs that needs to be met based on that community. But we've really just seen it be a great resource that's focused first and foremost on identifying where we can best address those needs, and what kind of resources we need to bring in. From the provider side, from the community action agency or otherwise to meet those needs.  

Justin Crowe: 

That's a really great example. I really appreciate that. So I want to I want to actually take it to the next section, because I want to talk a little bit about stories. And you know, one of the things our chief medical officer always says, is “no data without stories and no stories with that data.” And so it's really easy to hear a large number like Providence gave out $1.7 billion in community benefit, which is just astounding. But when you hear a story that resonates in your heart, I think it impacts you in a different way. So I'd love to hear an example of a story that resonated with you from our from our annual report. So Beth, we'll start with you on this question. 

Beth Schenk: 

Well, I'm, I'm thinking of a couple of things that happened in 2020. Some of them were ongoing, but were beefed up really because of the pandemic. And one was the response of several of our hospitals, again, about food, but about employees of creating gardens, and volunteering dozens or hundreds of hours to grow food that's given to people who need it. So, it's not for staff and it's not wasted, it's actually given to in Montana, there's a wonderful garden that is donated to the food bank, the local food bank. In Oregon, there's a wonderful garden that's donated to the they live in a rather low income that the hospital is situated in a rather low-income neighborhood. So, it's for that neighborhood, those neighbors directly. So I love those stories. The garden in Montana also has a prescription coders program. So that means people who have an issue with diabetes or prediabetes or another any health issue that really, it's recommended that they eat more fresh, organic, high quality produce, they can get that for free from the garden. And that's just a way we put our money where our mouth is basically, and the people who work in the gardens are happy to do it. They thrive with it, the people who are able to get the food, they too are happy with that.  

Just another quick story that happened in Alaska that was really interesting is in the early days of the pandemic, the pediatric unit, family members were required masks before masks were really prevalent and accepted. And so, the staff just jumped on that. And they sewed masks out of, sometimes it was linen that was going to be discarded from the hospital, sometimes it was linen fabric that they had at home, that they sewed into these fun masks for the parents of these pediatric patients to use. And it's just, it's heartwarming. And also, you know, when it's so frustrating when you're in the middle of a pandemic, or in the middle of a fire season, then you feel like you you're powerless, it's helpful for our caregivers to be able to give back to the communities in these ways. 

Justin Crowe: 

Oh, that's, that's such a great story about that, you know, we've become so accustomed to mass today, that it's hard to remember a time when that wasn't kind of the standard. And so, what a compassionate way to address that.  

Megan, I'd love to hear some stories that really resonated with you as well. 

Megan McAninch-Jones: 

They're just, as Beth mentioned, so many excellent stories, you know, both those that are in the annual report, and then so many others, that we have the opportunity to hear from, from our own caregivers, and community health and others as they do these outreach efforts. One that just holds a really special place in my heart, of course, is our work with #Work2BeWell, and really engaging with school students, school aged students around mental health and promoting mental health. And what has been remarkable for me as not a direct person engaged in the program, but kind of just seeing it around the periphery, has really been listening to these students find their voice, and to have the opportunity to, to witness their presentations and their growth in their self-advocacy. And just how strong of role models these students have really come to be even for me and learning through them. And so, there are just so many students that are deeply involved there that I just absolutely have to highlight the work to be well program. And I think some other you know, a couple other pieces that really stand out are all of the work of our community health workers, and our promotoras programs, particularly in addressing, testing and vaccine outreach for color for Coronavirus. In many of our communities. These are individuals who are trained lately, people who are trained as community health workers. They provide screening services, potentially normal times or community health education and really meeting each of our community members where they're out at where they're at, often speaking in Spanish, that it's comfortable, they're a trusted community member, we have examples of this across Southern California in Walla Walla in Oregon. All across our footprint of just folks really engaging with their communities and service. And to me, I just find that so inspiring, and a great way that we are showing up to promote and support equity in all that we do. 

Justin Crowe: 

That's, that's pretty Megan, what resonated with me in what you just highlighted is that you were learning from the students. And it reminded me of something our high school head of school says, which is that his role is to be the chief learner. And I think there's an element of that, that when we can  learn from our youth today. And they have a voice and a perspective that that we don't necessarily have because they're looking at it anyway. So, I think that's great. You know, I want to highlight one story that really resonates with me as well. And this is with the care network in Northern California. And for those that don't know, the care network, it stands for care management and advocacy, resource and referral and education. And it's really a network that brings together nurses, social workers, nurse practitioners, and community organizations to honor the dignity of every individual and to really treat them holistically. So, there's a great story in the annual report that highlights an individual who came in and had multiple health challenges, and also had some housing insecurity issues and a lot of family challenges. And so, we were able to really support that person and find housing for him. We were able to provide care management for his medications. And we were able to bring kind of the right set of healthcare practitioners to meet his needs, and to ensure that he could live a healthy life and be as successful as he could be. And it's just such a great story of, you know, we're not just a healthcare company that provides health care to people when they come into our hospitals. You know, we see the dignity of every individual, and we are going to do everything we can including on the social front to support them. And I think that's a theme that runs all the way through the annual report. And I don't know about you, but you hear that and it just makes you proud to be a part of Providence and to have the opportunity to have that purpose. It's not just a job, it's really kind of living out our mission in our communities. 

Beth Schenk: 

And you know, what's really cool about that Justin is it happens in over 50 communities where Providence is, it's just that it's just, you know, how we are after, I think, so much work on our mission and our alignment with the sisters wishes and our commitment to justice. And I, it's, I enjoy seeing that in communities that I've never been to just hearing these stories, and I agree with you, it makes me proud to be part of it. 

Justin Crowe: 

Now, that's a great call it Beth. I mean, I think we live in a country that's very divided right now. And yet we serve across seven different states, and those states are liberal, they're conservative, they're different communities, they have different needs. And I think we're an organization that meets the needs of each of those communities, you know, irrespective of where they come from.  

So why don't we the last question, that's for you would be, you know, we've probably got a lot of listeners hearing this. And they're wondering like, how, how can I get involved? How can I support Providence in these Community Health Initiatives? How would you respond to them? 

Beth Schenk: 

Well, I think, you know, first of all, to pay attention to the Providence services in your area, because there's always something happening, from education, to community events, to volunteer opportunities. Usually, there's good food, if you go to the cafeteria. Also, please check out this annual report. This is just fresh off the presses today. And there's it's got a lot of super interesting information. And it takes you to different links that you can learn more about provenance and about this work, and about the needs in our communities, which are always good to understand. We also invite anyone to help support Providence. And that could be through donation or through volunteerism. And if you're interested in donating money, you just go to providence.org slash donate. So, there are many, many ways to get involved. And probably if you live in a community with the Providence facility, you know, people who work there, so you can ask them about Providence and what's going on, and how they're engaged in the community. So please, Well, welcome to to the Providence work in the world. 

Justin Crowe: 

Great, thank you so much. I just want to thank both of you for joining us today. And I want to thank everyone who's listening and sending in questions. To learn more about our initiatives. As Beth highlighted our programs and services, please visit us @providence.org and thank you again. I hope you have a wonderful day.