Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) have come together as CommonSpirit Health, creating a new nonprofit Catholic health system focused on advancing health for all people and serving communities in 21 states.
Catholic Health Initiatives has been awarded a $2.5 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to implement an innovative model for addressing the social determinants of health as an integral part of the health care we provide and to help develop pathways and opportunities to build and sustain healthy communities.
Social determinants of health – the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age – contribute in a significant way to inequities in health status. Understanding and addressing impacts of these determinants is essential to providing equitable, effective and high-quality health care.
CHI, the nation’s third-largest non-profit health system, is matching the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant with a $2.5 million award from its Mission and Ministry Fund. It has launched its “Total Health Roadmap” in three of its largest markets: Denver-based Centura Health, which operates in Colorado and Kansas; KentuckyOne Health, based in Louisville; and Mercy Health Network, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa.
“CHI’s mission from the day it started 21 years ago has been to create and sustain healthy communities – and this program is the perfect embodiment of that mission,” said Kevin E. Lofton, the organization’s chief executive officer. “Considering the social determinants of health will be a standard of care in primary care practices in each of the three pilot markets, which will actively recruit and lead community partners in identifying and addressing the most important needs and issues facing their communities.”
CHI understands that improving the health of communities requires venturing outside the walls of hospitals and other facilities of care, Lofton added. “We meet people where they live and work to better understand and fulfill their health needs -- just as the members of our founding religious congregations did.”
Working with local communities, CHI will identify and address the social and environmental issues that affect well-being and health equity by integrating comprehensive screening for basic human needs into the primary care setting. Basic human needs represent a range of physical, social and psychological needs such as availability of food and safe housing, transportation, quality childcare, access to behavioral health service and social supports. The initiative will foster collaboration with a wide array of community partners to address the issues that affect well-being, connecting patients with the local resources needed to improve their health – and their lives.
CHI’s Total Health Roadmap will:
Two years ago, CHI received a planning grant of $647,861 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to fund a comprehensive plan that formed the foundation for CHI’s long-term Total Health Roadmap. CHI leaders are confident the initiative, whose initial funding runs through December of 2019, can eventually be spread across the organization’s national enterprise in 17 states and will help inform the efforts of a growing number of hospitals and health systems committed to improving health in their communities.
“We must transform our roles as health care providers, community partners and leaders within our communities to address the basic needs of everyone we serve and to help create the conditions that will promote health and well-being in our communities,” said Shannon Duval, the president and chief development officer of the CHI National Foundation.
“The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is proud and excited about our collaboration with Catholic Health Initiatives,” said Martha Davis, senior program officer. “CHI’s mission, track record and reach in rural, suburban and urban communities is a strong asset and platform, and we commend their vision and strategic plan in creating healthy communities.”
About Catholic Health Initiatives: Catholic Health Initiatives, a nonprofit, faith-based health system formed in 1996 through the consolidation of four Catholic health systems, expresses its mission each day by creating and nurturing healthy communities in the hundreds of sites across the nation where we provide care. The nation’s third-largest nonprofit health system, Englewood, Colorado-based CHI operates in 17 states and comprises 100 hospitals, including three academic health centers and major teaching hospitals as well as 30 critical-access facilities; community health-services organizations; accredited nursing colleges; home-health agencies; living communities; and other facilities and services that span the inpatient and outpatient continuum of care. In fiscal year 2016, CHI provided more than $1.1 billion in financial assistance and community benefit – a 13% increase over the previous year -- for programs and services for the poor, free clinics, education and research. Financial assistance and community benefit totaled more than $2 billion with the inclusion of the unpaid costs of Medicare. The health system, which generated operating revenues of $15.9 billion in fiscal year 2016, has total assets of approximately $22.7 billion. Learn more at www.catholichealthinitiatives.org
ABOUT THE ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION
For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working with others to build a national Culture of Health enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.