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The health care landscape continues to change at an accelerated pace across the country. Health systems nationwide are being forced to adapt as patients shift from inpatient to outpatient services, including here in the District of Columbia. It is our responsibility to ensure that we continue to align with this strategic transformation occurring in healthcare and support the health and vitality of our communities.

The decision to transition Providence Hospital out of acute, inpatient care has been difficult, and one made after careful, in-depth analysis about the District’s health care needs and the hospital’s sustainability. In March of last year, Providence began a process with the goal of determining how we can continue to best serve our community’s evolving health care needs. We engaged leaders of the Catholic community, faith-based organizations, our hospital board of directors, public leaders and neighborhood residents. We also examined public and private data and community needs and performed financial modeling to determine what role Providence can serve to improve the health of the District.

Providence remains committed to our mission, to staying in the District, and to transitioning to best serve our community.

Providence’s mission will never change. We continue to be committed to serving all persons, with special attention to those who are poor and struggling. However, how we live out our mission must change in order to be sustainable and to improve health outcomes in the District. To that end, Providence has committed to invest upwards of $30 million to our future in the District to make certain we are best serving the community’s needs.

The District’s 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment, and the DC Health Systems Plan, identified management and care coordination of chronic health conditions, addressing the needs of the aging population, and mental and behavioral health as key needs in the District. Considering these three needs and the significant duplication of inpatient services, combined with Providence’s history of operating losses, it was clear that the best way to redeploy resources and better serve the community was to transition from hospital-based services to primary, behavioral and community-based services. That is where we believe we can make the greatest impact on the overall well-being of those we serve, and therefore we are turning our focus to delivering those services and filling those gaps.

Our new model will seek to address physical and behavioral healthcare as well as the social determinants of health — the conditions in which people are born, live, learn, work, play — such as access to housing, education and jobs. One goal is to provide chronic disease management, giving patients the time and attention they need from their health care providers, so they can spend the time they want with their loved ones. We are moving with a sense of urgency to provide the right care at the right time and right place.

Based on the health needs of the people in the District, we are continuing to provide care through our skilled nursing facility, Carroll Manor, and our primary care-related services, which includes geriatrics and behavioral health. We are also supporting our associates, physicians, nurses and other caregivers as they transition from Providence Hospital, including severance packages and skills training in accordance with our mission and values.

Providence is regularly engaging with public health officials and other health systems in the District to plan for a smooth transition of services and patients during this transformative time. We look forward to continuing to discuss with the community and public health officials how Providence can think innovatively to increase access to quality, affordable care and improve the health of all District residents for years to come.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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