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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 6, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 19
Building Community Benefit at Swedish
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Building Community Benefit at Swedish

by Sherry Williams - Community Engagement Director
Swedish Medical Center

Our promise is to provide public and community benefit to the communities in Seattle, King and areas in Snohomish County. Hi everyone, I'm Sherry Williams, Community Engagement Director for Swedish. My role at Swedish is to promote community outreach and engagement opportunities and activities, partner with community-based organizations who serve many of our patients and families and develop health, wellness and prevention programs to support the underserved members of our community. I am passionate about my work and committed to listening to and working with our community partners. As a community partner and good neighbor Swedish is committed to improve the health and well-being of each person we serve.

Community Benefit can be defined as the social responsibility of nonprofit hospitals to the community health needs of the residents. We measure community benefit based initiatives that include community education programs, community building activities, medical research, and health education, free and reduced care and charity care and report it annually. Each year, we invest in community programs, projects and initiatives which help us make the most in fostering a healthier community together. These programs might be our own, such as the Swedish Community Specialty Clinic, or in partnership with community organizations like Community Lunch on Capitol Hill, a hot meal program for our homeless and hungry residents, supplying Lifelong Chicken Soup Brigade clients with three-day emergency preparedness kits or providing health screening at Gay City.

As the needs of our community change, so might our areas of focus, which is why non- profit hospitals like Swedish invest in a Community Health Needs Assessment. This community health survey is a requirement by the Affordable Care Act to ensure our resources are aligned appropriately to the health issues and the social determinates of health in our community. Many of our employees give back to the community by volunteering at community food banks and meal programs, providing health screenings, staffing 'ASK the DR or RN' tables at community events and even talking to parents at PTSA meeting at schools.

In 2015, Swedish spent more than $175 million on these important Community Benefit programs. This was an increase of 30 percent from 2014. Providing free and discounted medical care for patients in need is very important to us. Although our spending on free and discounted care did decrease from 2014, which is a good thing, Swedish financial counselors helped 1,200 community members enroll in health insurance coverage in 2015. We also have new information to report that Swedish's charity care policy was updated in January of 2016, to provide 100 percent financial assistance write off to individuals and families between 0-300 percent of the federal poverty level (formerly 0-200 percent). We are committed to the support of our community members, listening to their needs and providing the right kind of care and support that truly benefits our community. Please visit our Financial Assistance page at http://www.swedish.org/patient-visitor-info/billing/financial-assistance, our Community Outreach page at

http://www.swedish.org/about/overview/mission-outreach/community-engagement/community-needs-assessment and our Community Benefit page at

http://www.swedish.org/about/overview/mission-outreach/community-engagement/community-benefits for more information about the work Swedish provides our community. www.swedish.org or 1-800-Swedish (1-800-793-3474). If you have any questions regarding our community partners and community building activities, please call me at 206-386-3407.

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