By Staff Reports
(Apple Valley)– In earlier days, the Sisters of Providence begged for money among the miners of the unsettled Pacific Northwest; the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange crafted delicate lace to sell and taught their exquisite art to the poor women of their communities.
Up and down the coast, the sisters spent their earnings on care for the poor and the vulnerable – orphans, the homeless, the hungry, the sick, the elderly and those with mental illness.
Today, Providence, one of the nation’s largest health care systems, continues that mission of outreach by turning profits into community investments, most often working with partners to meet Southern California’s greatest needs.
Details of the $485 million in services, programs and charity care for those most in need in our region are included in the 2020 Annual Report to Our Communities, released today. The report highlights ways Providence Southern California partnered across Los Angeles and Orange counties and the High Desert region of San Bernardino County to assess community needs and to meet those needs with the expertise of partners who share our mission of outreach.
“Never were needs so great in our communities as in 2020, when more than 1 million jobs were lost in our region, most of them among workers already in lower-income positions,” said Kevin Manemann, chief executive Providence Southern California. “Add to that the financial tolls of childcare as schools shut down and of caring for family members who fell victim to COVID-19, tens of thousands of whom lost the battle.
“We pray for those suffering and, in the tradition of our founding Sisters, we take care of them and we empower them.”
Providence Southern California addressed key initiatives in 2020. Details are in the report:
- Foundations of health: Across Southern California Providence used creativity and collaboration to respond to the pandemic as cases of COVID-19 surged. The many crises that emerged from this public health emergency required health care providers, nonprofit organizations and community leaders to mobilize quickly to find solutions to complex problems and to support people in need.
- Reducing barriers to care: In the South Bay, we focused on supporting career development and reducing health inequities We know that for people experiencing homelessness, having a kind, compassionate person they can trust and talk to about their needs can make all the difference. Providence Little Company of Mary Medical
Centers have been hiring and training more community health workers to perform these essential services in clinical settings so they can help the most vulnerable navigate services and get the care they need.
- At Providence, we understand enrolling in health insurance can be a daunting task—a confusing world filled with income calculations, insurance premiums, HMO networks and piles of paperwork. It’s even more difficult if English is not your first language, a barrier for many in the San Fernando Valley. Our Community Health Insurance Program provides Spanish-speaking community health workers who help link consumers to public programs and help them enroll in a health plans.
- Community resilience: Providence St. Joseph Hospital’s Emergency Care Center in Orange County is a resource for people with severe mental health challenges and unstable housing that provides the kind of ongoing support these patients need to address their challenging circumstances. Partnering with Jamboree, a nonprofit housing provider, Providence helped in renovating an old board and care home, the first step in a partnership to help better serve our patients while making our services more convenient, accessible and affordable.
- Innovating for the future: As Demand Grows, Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley bolsters local food supplies. High Desert Second Chance serves as the central hub of a massive food distribution system and its partnerships, including Providence St. Mary, play an integral role in keeping the system running. Supported by the hospitals, Food Forward, a local nonprofit organization, donated 2.8 million pounds of produce grown in surrounding areas that was distributed to more than 140,000 people in the High Desert.
Community investments in 2020 included COVID-19 prevention and vaccine education, access to free or low-cost care for low-income families, outreach to seniors isolated by the pandemic, resources for the homeless and those with mental illness and many other programs to educate and care for those living on the margins. Investments also include the costs of uncompensated care for Medi-Cal and links to resources once patients leave our care.
“Caring for those who slip through the cracks is the very core of the Providence mission and values, and defines who we are,” said Sister Nancy Jurecki, OP, the region’s chief mission officer. “We are steadfast in our belief that health is a human right, and we truly live our promise: Know me, care for me, ease my way.”
Across the seven-state Providence system, the organization contributed a total of $1.7 billion in programs and services.