What are community benefits?
As people of Providence,
we reveal God's love for all,
especially the poor and vulnerable,
through our compassionate service.
health care ministry
As a not-for-profit Catholic health care ministry, Providence embraces its Mission-driven responsibility to provide for the needs of the communities we serve. Our not-for-profit status and our careful management of financial resources allow us to deliver quality care and also to donate many subsidies, services and grants to meet local needs.
Special concern for
the poor and vulnerable
Providence's foundress of its Northwest ministries, Mother Joseph, once said, "Whatever concerns the poor is always our affair." That was true for the early Sisters of Providence, and it is true for us today. Our hospitals and clinics are open to everyone, regardless of ability to pay. We offer a financial assistance program that is one of the best in the country, with generous discounts and free care for those who cannot afford to pay.
Community benefits are the many ways Providence contributes to and supports our communities, from direct financial giving to in-kind contributions of time and expertise. Our goal always is to make investments that support individuals in need and build healthier communities.
We tailor our programs to respond to regional, area and neighborhood needs with an emphasis on helping the uninsured, those in financial need, and underserved rural and minority populations. In addition to free care and reduced-cost care for our uninsured patients in need, our community benefits include:
- Oregon Health Plan and other Medicaid subsidies. We make up the difference between the cost of providing services to people insured by the state and the amount the state pays for this care.
- Graduate medical education and medical research. We heavily subsidize our graduate medical education programs and help pay for nursing education and medical research.
- Health services for underserved patients. Our seven safety net clinics, for example, are designed to care for underserved and uninsured people, most often at a planned loss.
- Community health, grants and other financial investments. Community health support includes free services such as patient education, health screenings, immunizations and support groups. Cash and grants go to community partners, and other donations may include items such as medical supplies and child safety seats.
The community health assessment
Reaching out to our communities
Every three years we conduct a formal community health assessment to ask important questions about who is experiencing the greatest needs, and how those needs might be different even within a community. The outreach connects us to many nonprofits, social service agencies and care providers as well as recipients of care and their families. We ask about the most pressing needs they see or experience, and we seek ideas for partnering to meet those needs.
To ensure that the assessment is complete and fully inclusive, our process includes research, meetings in communities, many interviews, focus groups and surveys. During our last outreach, Providence employees contacted 160 organizations and 400 individuals across the state for a personal interview.
Our findings are assembled to make certain we understand and respond to local and regional needs, which often vary from one city or county to another. Identified areas of need not only guide our community benefit giving, but also our strategic planning to ensure our Mission is fully realized across our operations.
The greatest needs
Our 2010 assessment helped us to set priorities that reflect current advice from our communities and partners. Our outreach has been guided by these priorities:
- Care for low-income and uninsured persons
- Care for diverse populations
- Care for our older citizens
- Care for those with behavioral health needs
Joining hands to provide care
We recognize that caring for the poor and vulnerable is not a task we can do on our own. The community health assessment helps us identify and support local and statewide nonprofit organizations that share our vision for community care. This support can include a direct donation or a grant to support service work, develop a new service or expand programs. Sometimes we'll partner to address an unmet need.
At Providence, two key groups manage our grants. Both groups consider applications based on identified needs from the community health assessment and both have an established set of criteria and measurements.
- Providence Community Grants Council includes Providence Health Plans, our hospitals, senior care, physicians and other members of our integrated health care system. The council accepts grant applications for amounts up to $25,000.
- Providence Partners in Health is a partnership with community and state advisers. This group typically makes grants of between $50,000 and $400,000.